FROM THE OFFICE OF CONGRESSMAN JIM COSTA
Representing California’s 16th District
Fresno County • Merced County • Madera County
Washington, DC – Rep. Jim Costa, the highest ranking Californian on the House Agriculture Committee, voted to move H.R. 1947, the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013, to the House floor. At nearly midnight, the House Agriculture Committee gave overwhelming support with a vote of 36-10 to take up where the last Congress left off and advance a five year Farm Bill that will set the nation’s agriculture and nutrition policies.
“At its core, the Farm Bill is a jobs and food security bill,” said Costa. “Giving certainty to this sector of our economy protects families at the grocery store and jobs in our Valley communities. We still have more work to do to ensure the 2013 Farm Bill works for all Americans, including revisiting cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), but we are moving this process forward.
There is too much good in this bill to let it die before it is heard on the House floor. Rural America cannot afford inaction. We owe them a vote.”
The Farm Bill that cleared the House Agriculture Committee contained many victories for Valley farmers, livestock producers, and dairymen and women. These include among others:
- $600 million over 10 years for the Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI) to encourage the development of new technologies and improved efficiencies in the production of specialty crops.
- $375 million for the Specialty Crop Block Grants Program over the life of the 2013 Farm Bill to strengthen the market for the specialty crops we grow in our Valley like fruits, vegetables, and nuts.
- $630 million over 10 years to prevent the introduction and spread of plant pests and diseases.
- Maintains level funding ($1.75 billion) for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) that assists farmers with upgrades that improve Valley air quality.
The legislation also included a provision that would allow California the opportunity to enter the Federal Milk Marketing Order. Costa has long advocated giving producers the chance to petition the U.S. Agriculture Secretary for entrance into the Federal Order. Earlier this year, Costa joined fellow Valley Rep. David Valadao in introducing bipartisan legislation that would allow California Dairy Producers to vote on this matter.
As the legislation moves forward, Costa will continue to fight to ensure that Valley farmers, livestock producers, and dairymen and women have all the tools necessary to continue to do what they do: produce the safest, healthiest foods in the world.