After review of projected monitoring and reporting costs along with fees for the state’s rice waste discharge requirements, the California Rice Commission board decided in December to begin the process for an industry vote to increase the assessment cap.
Currently, it is set at 15 cents per hundredweight, and the board decided to seek a 20 cent cap.
The commission manages the rice discharge program on behalf of the industry to meet state-mandated water quality monitoring and reporting requirements. The commission also pays a per-acre feet to the State Water Board.
The program’s projected costs for the next 10 years are expected to exceed $1.3 million annually. Along with the need to cover small increases in other program and operating costs, the board will ask growers and handlers to vote to increase the assessment cap to 20 cents cwt. If approved, the increased assessment will be subject to annual budget development.
Growers and handlers will receive a ballot from the California Department of Food and Agriculture in early June. The voting period will be 60 days.
The California Rice Commission contributed information to this article.