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

Oct 30, 2019 Press Release

(Washington) – Congressman Jim Costa (CA-16) joined a bipartisan delegation, including Congressmembers Zoe Lofgren (CA-19), Jimmy Panetta (CA-20), Doug Lamalfa (CA-01) and Dan Newhouse (WA-04) to introduce the Farm Workforce Modernization Act, groundbreaking legislation that that provides a path to legal residency for nearly 250,000 California farmworkers.

Oct 22, 2019 Press Release

WASHINGTON- House Agriculture Subcommittee on Livestock and Foreign Agriculture Chairman Jim Costa of California delivered the following statement after hosting a roundtable today with USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection leaders:

Oct 16, 2019 Press Release

WASHINGTON- House Agriculture Livestock and Foreign Agriculture Subcommittee Chairman Jim Costa of California released the following statement after a briefing from Ambassador Gregg Doud of the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative:

Sep 25, 2019 Press Release

WASHINGTON (September 25, 2019) – House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin C. Peterson of Minnesota and Subcommittee on Livestock and Foreign Agriculture Chairman Jim Costa of California issued the following statements Tuesday on the release of details contained in a tariff reduction agreement between the United States and Japan.

Subcommittee Chairman Costa

Sep 19, 2019 Press Release

WASHINGTON (September 19, 2019) - Congressman Jim Costa (CA-16) issued the following statement regarding the passage of a Continuing Resolution to fund the government through November 21:

Sep 16, 2019 In The News

Gov. Gavin Newsom took considerable political heat over the weekend from a pair of unlikely sources — the environmental community and Democratic lawmakers.

Both were angered over his pledge Saturday to veto Senate Bill 1, a proposal that they say would have protected California’s waterways and fish against the Trump administration.

Sep 16, 2019 Press Release

(FRESNO) Congressman Costa and Representatives John Garamendi, Josh Harder, and TJ Cox along with Senator Dianne Feinstein, released the joint statement today in support of Governor Gavin Newsom’s plan veto SB1, legislation that would have profound impacts on the long-term availability of water in the valley: 

Sep 6, 2019 Press Release

(WASHINGTON) In his continuing effort to work with Federal and State legislators to solve California’s water problems, Congressman Jim Costa (CA-16) sent a letter to Governor Gavin Newsom urging him to include two amendments to Senate Bill 1 (SB1), a key piece of legislation that would have profound impacts on the long term availability of water in the Valley.

Jul 25, 2019 Press Release

WASHINGTON (July 25, 2019) – The chairs of four House Agriculture Subcommittees issued a joint statement today in response to USDA’s announcement of details on aid for farmers hurt by the Administration’s trade war. Livestock and Foreign Agriculture Chairman Jim Costa of California; Nutrition, Oversight, and Department Operations Chair Marcia L.

Jul 23, 2019 Press Release

(Washington, D.C.) – Congressman Jim Costa (CA-16) released the following statement in response to the Trump Administration’s proposal to eliminate categorical eligibility for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which would prevent tens of thousands of hungry Californians from receiving benefits: