Food safety and environmental quality impose conflicting demands on Central Coast growers
Growers of fresh produce on the Central Coast of California currently face conflicting demands regarding measures to protect food safety and those to protect environmental quality. To explore the extent of conflicting pressures and identify the range of possible impacts on the environment, we conducted a survey of Central Coast irrigated-row-crop growers during spring 2007. The results indicate that growers are experiencing a clear conflict, and some are incurring economic hardships because their practices to protect the environment have resulted in the rejection of crops by buyers. In addition, some growers are being encouraged to or are actively removing conservation practices for water quality, and most growers are taking action to discourage or eliminate wildlife from and adjacent to croplands. These actions could affect large areas of land on the Central Coast and, as indicated by growers, they are likely to increase over time.