Agriculture drives the American economy and is the backbone of the Central Valley’s economy. California’s diverse agricultural economy provides food for the world, producing nearly $45 billion in agricultural products annually. Our friends and neighbors drive our well-deserved reputation as America’s breadbasket with a bit of help from nature, and a whole lot of hard work and skill.
As a dairy farmer, I understand the unique and challenging obstacles the agriculture industry faces. Burdensome regulations, environmental conditions, and federal agriculture programs are just a few of the issues that have serious impacts on the agriculture industry in California and across the nation.
Like many Valley farmers, I fully understand the devastating consequences of senseless and burdensome federal regulations. The negative impacts of over regulation are especially pronounced when bureaucrats in Washington, who create these regulations, lack a comprehensive understanding of the realities faced by everyday business owners. As your Representative in Congress, I will continue to fight unnecessary government regulations that have negative impacts on the lives of hard working Americans.
Representing the nation’s largest dairy district, I feel it is of utmost importance to voice the needs of dairy producers in Washington. That is why I introduced the California Federal Milk Marketing Order Act. This bill will allow producers in California to petition to join the federal order and enter a more level playing field for their milk prices.
Through my position on the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), I am tasked with evaluating the funding levels for all federal programs that have an impact on our farms and ranches. As the subcommittee begins to deliberate funding levels for fiscal year 2018, I am in a unique position to protect those programs that positively impact Central Valley farms.
In order to foster healthy and hospitable conditions for agricultural production, it is important we proactively combat current and future threats facing agriculture. For too long, heavy-handed federal regulations have severely reduced water deliveries to the Central Valley’s farmland by requiring billions of gallons of water to be flushed into the ocean. While legislation cannot make it rain, it can provide relief by addressing complex and contradictory laws, court decisions, and regulations at the state and federal level that have made recent droughts increasingly detrimental.
While we were able to implement temporary drought relief provisions during the 114th Congress, a complete and long-term agreement is still needed. In order to achieve a comprehensive solution, I introduced H.R. 23, the Gaining Responsibility on Water (GROW) Act on the first day of the 115th Congress. My bill, the GROW Act, will enact policies to expand our water infrastructure and allow for more water conveyance while protecting the water rights of users across the state.