Today, Congressman John Garamendi (D-Fairfield, CA), who runs a pear orchard in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and is a life-long rancher, issued a statement on the Senate's passage of the 2012 Farm Bill. Congressman Garamendi led a California Delegation letter to the House Agriculture Committee outlining a number of priorities for California. He was pleased to see that many of these priorities were included in the Senate legislation. Text of this letter and a statement from the Congressman are included below.
Congressman Garamendi's statement:
"I applaud the bipartisan leadership in the Senate for ensuring passage of the 2012 Farm Bill. Passage of a responsible Farm Bill is vital to American agriculture and our entire economy.
"As the largest producer of agricultural products in the country, California's economy is especially dependant on passage of a Farm Bill. The Senate Farm Bill strengthens California's ability to grow and sell its many 'specialty crops,' such as walnuts, almonds, and grapes. Programs such as the Market Access Program and Specialty Crop Block Grants will allow California's farmers to remain competitive in the global market.
"The bill also empowers farmers to implement important conservation measures to protect the sustainability of land, water, and wildlife. California's rice farmers, for instance, have utilized Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) programs to help reach their environmental goals of creating prime bird habitat that provides refuge and food supply for over 7 million waterfowl, several hundred thousand shorebirds, and the endangered giant garter snake. The Senate bill will ensure that all farmers can continue this type of valuable conservation work.
"This legislation makes investments in agricultural research, conducted at UC Davis and universities across the country, that are essential to providing our agricultural businesses with the most advanced technology and pest and disease prevention strategies.
"The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), helps struggling families to get by and to prevent children from going hungry. This Farm Bill implements reforms to the program while maintaining our commitment to families in need.
"I will continue to work with the House Agriculture Committee and Republican leadership to develop a Farm Bill that helps secure our food supply and grow our economy."