Time to take another look at agriculture inspection
July 3, 2003
The agricultural inspection station on Highway 80, near the Donner Lake interchange, is starting to look like a ghost town as state budget problems have made its staffing impossible.
The situation – where signs have replaced people – calls into question the need to have such a large infrastructure at the California state line if inspections are only made for part of the traffic crossing through.
Although Truckee-ites, especially those who go through every day, may miss the familiar smiles and quick snippets of conversation with inspection staff, the need for the station, in any capacity, should be re-examined.
The purpose of agriculture inspection is to ward off potential insect and parasite problems in California, such as the famous med-fly infestation that hammered the industry in the early 1980s. While this is a noble undertaking, perhaps there is a more efficient way to monitor the movements of infestation, and then take measures to stop their infiltration into California. By manning the agriculture inspection station only when it becomes a necessity, the state could save a lot of money and hassle for interstate drivers (and Truckee locals).
Also, if the state does not feel compelled to fund the total amount necessary to check every car, doesn’t that defeat the purpose of the agricultural inspection process? At other, less populated state crossings, one-person inspection stations are often unmanned, calling into question their effectiveness at preventing infected fruit from coming into the state.
The state budget is in critically bad shape, and big cuts will be necessary to put us back in the black. Maybe it is time for California to rethink its agriculture inspection system.