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

May 15, 2020 Press Release


[WASHINGTON] – Congressman Jim Costa (CA-16) voted to pass the Heroes Act,  the latest relief package from the House of Representatives to address the COVID-19 health crisis and provide support for the American people.

May 14, 2020 Press Release

(WASHINGTON) After releasing a framework to provide critical support to the nation’s agriculture industry, which has suffered significant losses during the COVID-19 pandemic, Congressman Jim Costa (CA-19) announced the following measures were included in the

May 8, 2020 Press Release

WASHINGTON – House Agriculture Subcommittee Chairs Jim Costa (CA-16), Marcia Fudge (OH-11), and Stacey Plaskett of the U.S. Virgin Islands, unveiled legislation Friday that will help streamline the donation of food by farmers to food banks across the country as it confronts growing hunger related to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Apr 29, 2020 Press Release

WASHINGTON- House Agriculture Subcommittee on Livestock and Foreign Agriculture Chairman Jim Costa of California released the following statement following President Trump's executive order to keep meat processing plants open:

"In carrying out this executive order the Administration must ensure the health and safety of workers and provide all the resources necessary to do so. Our beef, pork, and poultry processing facilities are essential infrastructure and I have long said our food supply is a national security issue."

Apr 27, 2020 In The News

A series of coronavirus outbreaks in meat packing plants have lead workers and lawmakers to call for improved working conditions.  

Last week, Smithfield Foods, the world's largest pork producer, shut down a pork processing plant in South Dakota that accounts for up to 5 percent of production after more than 500 of its workers were infected and one died from COVID-19.

Apr 24, 2020 Press Release

(WASHINGTON) House Agriculture Subcommittee on Livestock and Foreign Agriculture Chairman Jim Costa of California sent a letter to United States Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue in the wake of the second death of a USDA meat inspector due to COVID-19.

Apr 23, 2020 Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Jim Costa (D-CA) led 126 members in the U.S. House of Representatives in calling on the President to eliminate payment limits for specialty crop, livestock, and dairy producers before the final Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) details are announced.

Apr 15, 2020 Press Release

WASHINGTON—Congressman Jim Costa (CA-16) and Rep. Salud Carbajal (CA-24)spearheaded a letter signed by all Members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) calling on Congressional leadership to include protection and financial assistance for farmworkers to slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.