Congresswoman Barbara Lee visited the Central Valley this week for an agriculture tour and roundtable meeting facilitated by local Congressman TJ Cox. Congresswoman Lee is the only California representative on the powerful House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture which directs funding for important programs at USDA including the Citrus Health Response Program, HLB Multi-Agency Coordination Group, and various other marketing and research initiatives.
The representatives spent time with CCM member Grant Parnagian in the field to learn more about the industry’s efforts to stop HLB from spreading into commercial
citrus groves. They also talked about irrigation practices, employee benefits and working conditions, and broadly the fine balance of managing costs, farming practices, and utilization. The group also toured Fowler Packing for a tour of the packing house and the company’s on-site health clinic.
“We are very appreciative to Congressman Cox for hosting Congresswoman Lee in the Central Valley,” says CCM President Casey Creamer. “It’s critical that the Congresswoman appreciate just how important programs like CHRP and MAC are to the future of the California citrus industry and why continued funding is necessary. It was a great opportunity to showcase the impact of these programs as well as to educate both members more broadly about the citrus industry.
“Thanks in large part to both Congressman Cox and Congresswoman Lee, the 2020 House Ag Committee Bill maintains funding levels, and in some areas increases funding, for vital specialty crop programs. We look forward to continuing our relationship with these members and working with them as the appropriations process moves forward this year.”
In the afternoon, Congressman Cox facilitated a roundtable meeting at Kings County Farm Bureau with a number of growers, dairymen, and agricultural association representatives to discuss issues such as pest and disease prevention programs and water infrastructure and deliveries.