Butte County supervisors gave preliminary approval to a new ordinance aimed at cracking down on walnut theft.
The ordinance would require anyone selling unprocessed nuts during the harvest period to prove that they own them prior to selling them to authorized processors.
The measure would also ban roadside stands from purchasing unprocessed nuts during that period.
Ag leaders say the measure will help eliminate incentives for people who steal nuts from area orchards after they are shaken from the trees.
"It's a big issue. It doesn't take long to lose a lot of money for growers," Butte County Ag Commissioner Richard Price said.
"If I lose a thousand pounds of walnuts, then I lose at least a thousand dollars and it doesn't take long to pick up a thousand pounds of nuts if they are just lying on the ground," walnut grower Jim Couberly said.
The ordinance is set to come back before supervisors next month for final approval.