Supporting Sacramento County Agriculture
At Skip Jacobson’s farm, I saw a great first-hand example of how the Agriculture Department can partner with our local agricultural producers to help them succeed. By providing two grants to help pay for a new water recycling facility they’re helping to cover the startup costs of new farm run by Skip’s son.
Agriculture is a cornerstone of our region’s economy. According to the Sacramento County’s Agricultural Commissioner, our region's crops had a production value of nearly $470 million in 2015.
Our local agriculture economy supports jobs from farm workers, to truck drivers, to grocery store clerks - even the cashier at your local nursery. The Sacramento region is nicknamed the Farm-to-Fork Capital – helping area farmers bring their locally grown foods to nearby restaurants and kitchens. This is a deserved point of pride for our incredibly hard working farmers and agriculture producers, for families who care about our environment and healthy food choices, and for the region as a whole.
We should do whatever we can to support this innovation and the growth in Sacramento County agriculture. That’s why I voted for a bipartisan Farm Bill to support our region’s agriculture economy, am working to bring emergency drought relief to our area, and am having my office do all it can to connect farmers with help and resources.
Here are some of the key ways I’m working to support agriculture in Sacramento County:
- Fighting for a Bipartisan Farm Bill to Support Sacramento County Agriculture:
- Providing Drought Relief:
- Making Government Work for Local Agriculture:
- Supporting the Farm-to-Fork Movement:
- More on Supporting Sacramento County Agriculture:
About every five years, Congress must pass comprehensive legislation that’s commonly referred to as the “Farm Bill.” The Farm Bill determines many of our country’s agriculture and nutrition policies and is crucial for the wellbeing of our agriculture economy. In our state, the Farm Bill helps protects California’s crops against devastating pests and diseases, supports research to help grow and develop foods more efficiently, and provides insurance to help farmers get through tough times.
This is why I voted for a bipartisan Farm Bill, which is now law, to provide certainty and support to Sacramento County agriculture. And as Congress debated this legislation, I supported making several improvements to the Farm Bill to make it stronger for Sacramento County agriculture, including:
- Protecting California Agriculture: I strongly opposed one amendment to the Farm Bill that was offered by Congressman Steven King from Iowa. This amendment would have undermined many of California’s agriculture policies, causing great uncertainty and harm to California’s entire agriculture economy.
Overturning California’s agriculture laws not only would have violated our state’s rights, but it would have jeopardized safeguards against invasive species, removed protections against diseases that threaten our crops and livestock, and could have weakened numerous food safety standards. That’s why I urged the Chairman of the Agriculture Committee to strip this amendment from the final Farm Bill to protect California Agriculture. I’m pleased that this effort was successful and that the King amendment was not included in the final legislation.
- Helping Sacramento County Agriculture Succeed Globally: Today, we live and work in an interconnected global economy. It only makes sense to support local growers and producers who want to export their products into new markets around the globe so we can support more growth and jobs here at home.
That’s why I voted against two reckless Farm Bill amendments that would have eliminated crucial initiatives that help our agricultural producers export their products around the world. One amendment sought to repeal the Market Access Program, which regional producers such as Blue Diamond Almonds have relied on in part to help reach new markets. I also voted against another amendment that would have ended funding for the Emerging Markets Program. Agricultural producers depend on this initiative to help reach emerging economies around the globe that have potential for additional growth. I’m pleased to share that both of these amendments were defeated.
We’ve thankfully received some much needed rain this season. But after several years of drought, our state continues to face a water shortage.
Our drought has to be about people, not politics. In Sacramento County, I’ve met with families, farmers, and small businesses that are struggling because of the drought and need help. I’ve heard from small business owners who rely on our water supply. I’ve met with farmers who are having a tough time growing their crops because they don’t have enough water. And I’ve met with families that have spent significant time and money to re-landscape their yards to help save water.
People in our region are pitching in and doing their part to conserve water and help with the drought. Our local, state, and national leaders have an obligation to do their part to make sure those struggling because of the drought can get the help they need.
- Connecting our Area with Drought Relief: I’ve directed my local office to do all it can to help residents who need drought relief. That includes connecting families with rebates for saving water, disaster aid for farmers, and emergency help from the Agriculture Department, the Small Business Administration, and others.
We’d be honored to help you, too. Please feel free to call my office at (916) 635-0505 or visit my Drought Relief web page to see how you can get help.
- Voting for Further Drought Relief: We also need to make sure emergency help continues to be available for those who need it most. That’s why I voted for a bipartisan government funding bill in December 2015 that is now law. This legislation includes an additional $100 million for the Bureau of Reclamation to provide more drought relief to western states like California.
- Addressing California’s Drought: We need to not only provide emergency help those who need it, but also do all that we can to diminish the drought’s impact on our economy. This has to be about all Californians working together to provide comprehensive, long-term solutions to ensure water access, conservation, and storage throughout our state.
Please click here to learn more about how I’m working to address California’s drought.
I’ve visited with local farmers and ranchers in our area to see how the drought is impacting Sacramento County agriculture. During one tour of local farms, I brought along a representative from the Agriculture Department’s Natural Resources Conservation Service so they could learn more about the drought's impact on our region.
Making government work for you is core to my job. That means not only listening to you and bringing your voice to Washington, but also helping you however I can.
That’s why I’ve met with Sacramento County farmers throughout our region to hear how I can best support our local agriculture economy in Congress. Hearing the insights and perspectives of local farmers is crucial to my job of representing you. If you’re a Sacramento County farmer, I hope you will never hesitate to share your thoughts with me or to request a meeting. My staff and I would be happy to hear from you!
We’ve also worked to connect our local farmers with any resources and assistance they may need, including help with California’s drought. We may be able to help local farmers resolve issues with the federal government, including cutting through bureaucratic red tape at the United States Department of Agriculture, the Department of Labor, and other government agencies.
If you’re a local agriculture producer who needs help, please always feel free to contact my office at (916) 635-0505 or visit bera.house.gov/gethelp to learn more. I also have a Help for Businesses web page and Drought Relief web page that has information and resources.
I visited with several of our region’s farmers in a partnership with the Sacramento County Farm Bureau. At the Van Warmerdam family farm in Galt, I got to see how their manure digester processes cow manure into electricity before the nutrients are returned to the soil to help with their crops.
The Sacramento region has been nicknamed America’s Farm-to-Fork capital! The farm-to-fork movement is about bringing the bounty of fresh produce from our region directly to area homes and kitchens.
From schools, to award winning restaurants, to your kitchen table, fresh local food is a unique part of our community. Even concessions sold at the Sacramento Kings’ new Golden 1 Center will be sourced by hundreds of local food vendors and growers. I was proud to recognize Sacramento City Unified School District for joining in and working to get more healthy food to students. They received a $100,000 grant from the Agriculture Department’s Farm-to-School program to help introduce new locally grown vegetables in area schools.
This all helps our regional economy and supports healthy food options that are better for our environment. We should be encouraging responsible efforts to build on the success of the Farm-to-Fork movement.
Passmore Ranch is a great agriculture success story in our district. Michael Passmore started his business just to cover going to law school. But now he supplies Michelin Star restaurants nationwide as part of the Farm-to-Fork movement. Michael was able to succeed in part because the Agriculture Department invested in his business with a loan.
The success of Farm-to-Fork in our region is why I opposed a reckless amendment that sought to eliminate the Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program. This initiative supports the growth of area farmers and locally grown foods by providing training, technical help, and marketing assistance.
And in order to provide certainty and support to Sacramento County’s agricultural community, I’ve supported bipartisan legislation like the Farm Bill, which determines many of our country’s agriculture and nutrition policies.
In Congress, I will continue to do all that I can to make sure that we remain the Farm-to-Fork capital.
More on Supporting Sacramento County Agriculture
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Sacramento, CA – Congressman Ami Bera, M.D. announced a $100,000 grant awarded to Sacramento City Unified School District for its farm to school program.