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
It’s been a difficult year so far. I’ve been working hard to deliver results for the people of the Valley. Despite the unprecedented challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic, we have remained strong. Here are some of what I’ve accomplished for you so far in 2020:
(FRESNO) – Congressman Jim Costa (CA-16) released the following statement after the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced additional commodities to be made eligible for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP):
House Agriculture Subcommittee on Livestock and Foreign Agriculture Chairman Jim Costa released the following statement after today’s roundtable with USTR Chief Agriculture Negotiator Ambassador Gregg Doud:
(WASHINGTON) – Congressman Jim Costa (CA-16) released the following statement after the House passed the minibus appropriations bill to fund programs within Agriculture & Rural Development, Interior &Environment, State & Foreign Operations, and Military Construction & Veterans Affairs:
(WASHINGTON) Congressman Jim Costa released the following statement praising California Governor Gavin Newsom’s announcement of a new program aimed at extending protections for the state’s farm labor workforce who may need to isolate during the COVID 19 health crisis:
The House Agriculture Subcommittee on Livestock and Foreign Agriculture Chairman Jim Costa (CA-16) hosted a roundtable, in which USDA Under Secretary for Food Safety Dr. Mindy M. Brashears and Food Safety and Inspection Service Administrator Paul Kiecker answered questions about the impact of COVID-19 on food supply chains.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Congressman Jim Costa (CA-16) and over 120 Members of the House Democratic Caucus are calling on Congressional leadership to include protection and financial assistance for farmworkers in future legislation to slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
WASHINGTON (June 9, 2020) – In a letter to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue Tuesday, House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin C. Peterson of Minnesota, and Subcommittee Chairs Jim Costa of California, Stacey E. Plaskett of the Virgin Islands and Filemon Vela of Texas relayed concerns with the implementation of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.