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US: California provides Congress with 2018 Farm Bill recommendations

California has submitted recommendations to Congress for the 2018 Farm Bill, to inform upcoming deliberations by members of the House and Senate Agricultural Committees. California’s recommendations focus on robust funding for food and nutrition programs; protection and enhancement of conservation programs; safeguarding marketing and trade programs, including specialty crops; strengthening animal and plant health programs; and making investments in research.

“This set of recommendations reflects the vital role California farmers and ranchers play in our national economy and the health of our citizens,” said CDFA Secretary Karen Ross. “As Congress reauthorizes this essential legislation, they have an opportunity to promote the connection between food production and food access, while ensuring that we take care of the land and resources that make California a remarkable place to farm.”

California’s Farm Bill recommendations represent the collective input of more than 70 diverse stakeholder organizations as well as hundreds of citizens who attended five public listening sessions across the state. The recommendations also include contributions from state government agencies – the California Environmental Protection Agency, the California Health and Human Services Agency, the California Natural Resources Agency and the California Department of Food and Agriculture. The recommendations reflect the scope of California’s agricultural diversity and the themes shared by the organizations and individuals that participated in the process.

“Throughout the state, we heard from citizens about the value of this legislation,” said Diana Dooley, secretary of the California Health and Human Services Agency. “Without exception, participants in our listening sessions recognized the critically important role of the Farm Bill’s nutrition title. We must ensure that all California’s have access to food.”

The Farm Bill is an omnibus multi-year legislation for major food and farm programs, covering such issues as research, conservation, nutrition, commodities and rural development. The current Farm Bill, also known as the “Agricultural Act of 2014” was signed into law in 2014, authorizing $956 billion in spending over the next ten years.

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