Description of the Ag Pass Program
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. Possession of an Ag Pass during a wildfire or a similar disaster (or, "all-hazard" emergency) potentially allows the agriculturalist limited emergency access to areas that may otherwise be restricted to the public, in order to 1) protect or care for agricultural assets (such as irrigating crops or feeding, watering, and transporting livestock) and/or 2) provide support information to emergency personnel (such as identifying access roads and water points).
Ag Pass cards are applied for by and distributed to eligible agriculturalists before a disaster. The application process is designed to confirm that the cardholder is a bona fide agricultural owner-operator or employee whose services are essential to providing protection or care to agricultural assets, such as livestock, croplands, vineyards, and orchards. Individuals eligible for the Ag Pass must be key personnel who have a working knowledge of the agricultural property, including access to irrigation systems, farm equipment, and other essential infrastructure. Before the Ag Pass is provided, they will be provided training in emergency procedures and understand that their role is to provided limited protection and/or care to the agricultural operation, not to fight fire or act as first responders during disaster.
Possession of an Ag Pass card does not grant any 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 employees or owners access to agricultural property, at the discretion of front-line emergency personnel. What partners need to be involved?
Training will be held on the following dates:
You must register for and attend on one of the following dates in order to receive your Ag Pass. See Training Flyer here
Click on the date to register: Wednesday, July 7th
8 AM to Noon and the SBC Office of Emergency Management - 4408 Cathedral Oaks Rd, Santa Barbara.
For more information about the program and
eligibility requirements, please click here.
For the initial program rollout, no more than three (3) individuals from any agricultural operation (not each individual site of the operation) will be eligible to obtain an Ag Pass. To reiterate, the purpose of the Ag Pass is to potentially allow an agriculturalist access to his or her farm or ranch for limited emergency response activities to protect or care for agricultural assets only. It is not a pathway that allows for normal agricultural operations or activities (i.e. harvesting, packing, planting, etc.).
The Ag Pass will only be available to agriculturalists who meet the following criteria:
1. Property must be located in the State Responsibility Areas (SRA) of Santa Barbara County. Visit map link below for location of property.
* Because properties in the Wildland Urban Interface are subject to rapid change during wildfires or similar disasters, Ag Passes are only appropriate in the SRA.
2. The operation must be:
* A commercial agricultural enterprise; or
* Property used for conducting agricultural research or instruction by an educational institution.
3. Property must be zoned agricultural and a minimum of 40 acres in size.
4. The Applicant is key personnel of the operation that has a working knowledge of the agricultural property, including access to irrigation systems, farm equipment, and other essential infrastructure.
5. The Applicant and employer (if different than the Applicant) must sign a waiver and release.
The Ag Pass program is a coordinated program that is made possible to Santa Barbara County residents through the hard work and sponsorship of the County of Santa Barbara Agricultural Commissioner's Office and the following: