Farmers and ranchers meeting eligibility requirements can sign up now

By San Luis Obispo County Farm Bureau

SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY — On April 4, the County of San Luis Obispo Board of Supervisors voted to adopt an Agricultural Pass Program (AG Pass) for the purpose of issuing identification documents granting any qualifying agricultural producer, or a managerial employee, access to the qualifying producer’s farm or ranch property during a flood, storm, fire, earthquake, or other disaster.

In accordance with AB1103, which was passed on Oct. 7, 2021, the purpose of creating a county-based Ag Pass Program is to provide a uniform way to identify vetted commercial farm and ranch owner-operators and their employees to firefighting personnel, California Highway Patrol officers, Sheriff’s deputies and other law enforcement officers, and other emergency personnel for the purpose of allowing them access to their agricultural land.

Possession of an Ag Pass card does not grant special rights or privileges and does not necessarily mean the cardholder will be able to pass through road closures to get to their farm or ranch. If there is imminent danger, front-line emergency personnel are empowered to use discretion when it comes to protecting emergency crews and the public from unnecessary exposure to risk. However, in those cases when the boundaries of the closure area include agricultural land not deemed at imminent risk, the cards may allow owners or employees access to the agricultural property, at the discretion of front-line emergency personnel.

Training and card issuance will be facilitated by San Luis Obispo County Fire/Cal Fire. The county’s first training session will be Wednesday, May 10, from 5 to 8 p.m. at San Luis Obispo Fire Training Center, 880 Manzanita, Los Osos. Additional training dates will be scheduled if needed. Note: if you previously had an Ag Pass, you will need to complete this training again. 

More background on the eligibility requirements here and signup for the training here.