Protecting Valley Agriculture
As a third generation family farmer, I know first-hand the daily challenges our farmers and ranchers face. Agriculture is our way of life and the viability of our region depends on this industry to create jobs and economic opportunity. This is why I have made protecting and growing Valley agriculture a top priority.
Securing a stable supply of water for our farmers and farm communities is central to supporting Valley agriculture. To make sure our farmers have the water they need to put food on America’s dinner table and put people back to work, I have pressed the Administration to increase our water allocations, secured federal funding for Valley water projects, and fought the flawed federal regulations that limit the water flowing to our region. Our work to secure our fair share is far from over, but we have made progress. To learn more about my fight for Valley water, click here.
Along with fighting for water, I have worked to ensure that our government recognizes the vital role Valley agriculture plays in our national economy. Our Valley is the leading producer of specialty crops which include tree nuts, fruits, dried fruits, and vegetables. For too long, the Valley did not receive its fair share of federal funds for these kinds of crops. To fix this, I worked with other Valley leaders to secure $1.7 billion for specialty crops in the 2008 Farm Bill. This was a win for our local economy and success we can build on.
A critical part of Valley agriculture is our dairy industry. In 2009, dairy farms throughout the Valley and nation experienced one of the worst price crises of the last 40 years. America’s roughly 65,000 dairies lost over $12 billion. Sharp losses forced dairy farmers to lay off workers and, in many cases, shutter their operations. To protect Valley jobs and help the dairy industry get back on track, I introduced the Dairy Price Stabilization Act. My plan would promote market stability and individual dairy farmers’ ability to grow their own business.
I have also worked to reduce some of regulatory burdens placed on Valley farmers and ranchers. Part of my work during the 2008 Farm Bill was to secure addition funding through the Environmental Quality Incentive Program to help farmers convert equipment to newer engines that meet air quality standards and water funding that helped growers install drip irrigation systems. I also support fully repealing the estate tax and have supported legislation that would exempt family farms and ranches from this burden. I know from personal experience the difficulty of protecting your family farm when a family member passes away.
I speak with our Valley’s farmers and ranchers on a daily basis to discuss what we can do to strengthen our agriculture industry. Being in close contact has allowed me to respond quickly to our Valley’s needs. When the European Grapevine Moth was detected in our Valley, I was able to press the USDA to release $2.75 million to help our farmers combat this foreign pest. These funds helped mitigate some of the economic impact it had on our summer harvest.
These are only a few examples of my work on behalf of Valley farmers and ranchers. Whether it is fighting for more water, securing additional funding, or advocating for expanding trade opportunities, I will continue to work to help our agriculture economy grow.
More on Protecting Valley Agriculture
Washington, D.C. – The San Joaquin Valley will see significant benefits in this year’s Farm Bill, which cleared the final congressional hurdle to enactment today when passing in the House of Representatives.
Congressman Jim Costa (CA-16) – senior member of the House Agriculture Committee, who also served on the Farm Bill Conference Committee that negotiated the final legislation – called on his colleagues to support the bill shortly before it passed today.
Washington, D.C. – The Farm Bill moved one step closer to enactment today, with the Conference Committee filing its report featuring the negotiated version of the bill.
Washington, D.C. – This week Valley Congressman Jim Costa (CA-16) led a bipartisan coalition of 42 members of the House Specialty Crop Caucus in calling on House and Senate Agriculture Committee leadership to give specialty crops – such as fruits, vegetables, and nuts – equal treatment in ongoing Farm Bill Conference Committee negotiations.
Fresno, CA – The federal milk marketing order takes effect in California today, marking the culmination of years of work and the beginning of a new era for California dairy.
Fresno, CA – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced this week it would award the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District (SJVAPCD) over $3.7 million for two projects the District is spearheading to improve Valley air quality by reducing heavy-duty diesel vehicle emissions.
Merced, CA – The San Joaquin Valley is set to see substantial benefits from today’s enactment of new federal water legislation, including increases in the Valley’s ability to work through back-to-back years of drought conditions and reduce the risk of flooding during wet years.
Fresno, CA – Today, Congressman Jim Costa (CA-16) issued the following statement on the agreement between the United States, Canada, and Mexico on a renegotiated North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA):
Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Jim Costa (CA-16) brought San Joaquin Valley concerns front and center during the Farm Bill Conference Committee’s first meeting, focusing on trade, specialty crops, farming sustainability, dairy, and nutrition programs.