Grove Introduces First Bill to Protect Rural Agriculture

SACRAMENTO - Senator Shannon Grove (R-Bakersfield) introduced Senate Bill 224, which will help law enforcement agencies combat agriculture theft. This bill will create a new category for grand theft of agricultural property. SB 224 will also provide that the fines collected for this crime be recirculated back to current agriculture and rural-based crime prevention programs.

“California feeds the nation,” said Senator Grove. “When thieves steal from farmers it means consumers end up paying more out of their pocket for goods and services. Over the last few years, our farmers have been punished by bad policies coming out of Sacramento. This bill is a necessary first step in showing our agriculturalists that Sacramento supports them in their efforts to meet the demand of a growing population.”

“I applaud Senator Grove for introducing this bill that will help our agricultural community in Tulare County. Agricultural crime is one of my top priorities here in Tulare County and it impacts all of us, whether we’re directly involved in agriculture or a consumer of it,” said Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux. “These tougher penalties should make thieves think twice when they want to steal from our partners in agriculture.”

Tulare County is the top agricultural producing county in California. Tulare County alone suffered from $1 million in agricultural theft losses in 2018. Stolen equipment includes, but is not limited to, tractors and all-terrain vehicles (ATVs). These types of thefts not only affect the pocketbooks of farmers and business owners, but also the production of consumer goods.