California Farm Leader Praises Farm Bill Passage, Urges Immigration Action

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wengerNow that Congress has finished work on new legislation setting federal farm policy for the next five years, the president of the California Farm Bureau Federation says he hopes immigration reform will be a high priority in 2014.

CFBF President Paul Wenger encouraged President Obama to sign the farm bill right away, and praised a House-Senate conference committee and California representatives for “making the tough decisions” needed to finalize the bill.

“The 2014 Farm Bill includes programs that will assist California farmers and ranchers during this drought and with marketing their products, competing globally, preparing for the future and meeting new regulations,” Wenger said.

He said the new farm bill restores programs created to help farmers and ranchers through drought and other emergencies, and includes funding for pest and disease prevention, research, marketing, air-quality projects and food assistance that will benefit Californians.

“It will be critical to get these programs out to farmers quickly, especially those to aid people who have suffered losses from drought and wildfires,” Wenger said. “We will work with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to put these programs in place right away.”

With farm programs now finalized, Wenger said Congress should turn its attention to reforming immigration laws that have proven ineffective for agricultural employers and employees alike. He said immigration reform will be a top priority for a delegation of CFBF leaders that is visiting with congressional leaders in Washington this week.

The California Farm Bureau Federation works to protect family farms and ranches on behalf of nearly 78,000 members statewide and as part of a nationwide network of more than 6.2 million Farm Bureau members.