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Inventory of the Assembly Agriculture Committee Records
See series descriptions for LP numbers.  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Committee History
  • Scope and Content
  • Indexing Terms
  • Related Material

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Assembly Agriculture Committee Records
    Dates: 1853-2010
    Collection number: See series descriptions for LP numbers.
    Creator: Assembly Agriculture Committee
    Collection Size: 32 cubic feet
    Repository: California State Archives
    Sacramento, California
    Abstract: The Assembly Agriculture Committee Records consist of 32 cubic feet of textual and audiovisual records reflecting the committee's activity in investigating and introducing legislation of concern to California's large agricultural community and the subsidiary industries that support it.
    Physical location: California State Archives
    Languages: Languages represented in the collection: English


    While the majority of the records are open for research, any access restrictions are noted in the record series descriptions.

    Publication Rights

    For permission to reproduce or publish, please contact the California State Archives. Permission for reproduction or publication is given on behalf of the California State Archives as the owner of the physical items. The researcher assumes all responsibility for possible infringement which may arise from reproduction or publication of materials from the California State Archives collections.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Assembly Agriculture Committee Records, LP[number]:[folder number], California State Archives, Office of the Secretary of State, Sacramento, California.

    Acquisition Information

    The State Archives received these records in accordance with California Government Code 9080(b) which requires legislative committees to transfer their records to the State Archives when they are no longer needed by the committee.

    Committee History

    "The Constitution makes it the duty of the Legislature to encourage agriculture, that first and noblest of all industrial pursuits," declared Governor Peter H. Burnett to the first session of California's Legislature (Senate Journal, December 21, 1849). Not surprisingly then, Agriculture was one of the Assembly's original ten standing committees. Over the last century and a half, the committee's interests have gone from establishing favorable conditions for the development of agriculture to protecting what has become a multi-billion dollar agribusiness industry.
    Just four weeks after its first meeting in 1850, the committee expressed deep concern that American farmers would not be attracted to California. Members feared that the state's destitute appearance "leads to doubt of the adaptation of the soil and climate to a successful experiment in that business, and is deterring many from engaging in it" (Senate Journal, January 14, 1850). As well, many farmers had not yet returned to the plough after heeding the call of gold. Finally, numerous conditions existed which discouraged engagement in farming, including horse stealing, the intentional setting of prairie fires, and the ever present destruction caused by wild animals. The committee devoted their attention over the next few years, and in some cases decades, to promoting legislation that would alleviate these problems.
    Thanks to subsidized irrigation, agriculture in California has become a multi-billion dollar industry. The committee has grown from its original five members to as many as seventeen in recent years. Members are usually from agricultural districts. Most issues reviewed by the committee pertain to the Department of Food and Agriculture and the Food and Agricultural Code. Each year the committee addresses critical issues related to commodities, industry-related commissions, agricultural land use and preservation, fairs and expositions, marketing law, pest management, pesticides, veterinary medicine, plant and animal health, and food labeling. They address state budget impacts to agriculture as well. The Agriculture Committee's 1997-1998 Legislative Summary from the committee chairperson states, "The Chair is committed to ensuring the continued viability for the agricultural industry, related industries, and the communities that rely on those industries, as well as making sure that there is full conformity to the laws of the state."
    The chairpersons of this committee from 1971 were:
    Briggs, John V. (Rep.), 1971-1974
    Thurman, John (Dem.), 1975-1982
    Waters, Norman (Dem.), 1983-1990
    Areias, Rusty (Dem.), 1991-1994
    Harvey, Trice (Rep.), 1995-1996
    Cardoza, Dennis (Dem.), 1997-2000
    Matthews, Barbara (Dem.), 2001-2004
    Parra, Nicole (Dem.), 2005-2008
    Galgiani, Cathleen (Dem.), 2009-

    Scope and Content

    The Assembly Agriculture Committee Records consist of 32 cubic feet of textual and audiovisual records reflecting the committee's activity in investigating and introducing legislation of concern to California's large agricultural community and the subsidiary industries that support it. Much of this legislation either added to or amended the California Food and Agricultural Code. Materials include bill files, member resolutions, hearing files, committee logs, chronological correspondence, subject files, reports, and subcommittee files. The bulk of the collection consists of bill files from 1972-1986 and again from 1993-2010. Bill files for the years 1987-1992 were not sent to the State Archives. The finding aid contains hearing files from 1959-2010 as well as a few reports from 1853, 1855, and 1883. Researchers should also check for recently received, unprocessed records of this committee.
    Because of the size and complexity of California's agricultural industry, the subjects covered in this collection are widely varying. The committee's files document the legislature's continuing efforts to combat exotic pest threats to the state's agricultural industry, in particular the Mediterranean Fruit Fly and the Glassy-winged Sharpshooter. Other bill files relate to the use of industrial hemp, nitrates in contaminated drinking water, and the 2001-2002 Klamath River water crisis assistance program. Another major area of legislative activity involves amendments to the California Land Conservation Act, commonly known as the Williamson Act. This legislation has acted as the state's agricultural land protection program since it was enacted in 1965. Researchers may also be interested in the many bills reviewed by the committee concerning the humane treatment of animals. As the files document, this area of legislation continues to capture the attention of large numbers of constituents, including private citizens and animal rights interest groups.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
    California -- Legislature -- Assembly -- Agriculture Committee
    California. Dept. of Food and Agriculture
    Agriculture and state

    Related Material

    John V. Briggs Papers
    John Thurman Papers
    Norman Waters Papers
    Rusty Areias Papers
    Trice Harvey Papers
    Dennis Cardoza Papers
    Senate Agriculture and Water Resources Committee Papers
    Joint Interim Committee on Agriculture and Livestock Problems/Senate Fact-Finding Committee on Agriculture Papers