As a rancher and pear farmer, Congressman Garamendi understands the concerns of the 3rd District’s agriculturalists. He served on the Conference Committee when Congress passed the bipartisan Farm Bill, ensuring that California’s needs were met. That five-year Farm Bill included:
- The Specialty Crop Research Initiative, authorized for $800 million in funding, with a designation of funds to assist with research on citrus disease;
- The Specialty Crop Block Grant Program, which received a funding increase up from $55 million to $72.5 million;
- The Organic Research and Extension Initiative, which authorized $100 million in funding for an organic check-off program. This funding has enabled the USDA to fund research and promotion program for organic products;
- The creation of a Research Foundation with $200 million in mandatory funding to be matched with non-federal dollars;
- Maintaining funding for the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Snack Program while creating a pilot program to allow elementary schools to purchase fresh, frozen, canned and dried produce;
- The creation of the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) for the USDA to work directly with third parties and producers in watershed and other critical conservation areas. The Secretary will be able to name up to 8 RCPPs;
- The Managers Statement, which includes language encouraging the USDA to work with olive oil industry officials to determine if a marketing order for olive oil would ease industry concerns about quality. While this is not a permanent resolution of the issue, it is a step in the right direction towards ensuring U.S. olive oil is recognized for its high quality in the market place;
- Providing $50 million to fund Section 2501’s Program for Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers and expansion of programs to include veteran farmers and ranchers;
- Establishment of a USDA Military Veterans Agricultural Liaison to aid veteran farmers and ranchers;
- Establishment of an Office of Tribal Relations to advise the Secretary on policies related to Indian tribes;
- Technical Assistance for Specialty Crops; and
- The Market Access Program funding, which is maintained at $200 million per year.
To ensure a reliable water supply for Northern California farmers and communities and to protect the Delta from further encroachment, Garamendi is working across the aisle to help the proposed Sites Reservoir in Colusa County clear federal hurdles. California needs more offstream water storage, and Sites is arguably the best location in the state to better prepare California for future drought and future flood years.
Garamendi regularly meets with his Agricultural Advisory Committee, comprised of farmers, equipment manufacturers, and agricultural researchers throughout the 3rd District. He will continue to be an advocate for family farms, because they are the primary economic engine for large portions of the state.