Here in the Central Valley, farming is more than just a profession. It is a way of life for communities in the Central Valley and fundamental to our history and character. Our next Congressperson must champion our small and medium-sized family farms, allow them thrive and to be competitive, and provide them with the support and resources needed for them to be good stewards of our natural resources.
Our state produces over a third of the country's vegetables and two thirds of its fruits and nuts. Here in the Central Valley, we are often called the nation's "salad bowl", a title we proudly deserve: our District is home to Fresno and Tulare Counties, which are consistently in the top ten of agricultural counties in California, hosts the largest AG Expo in the globe, and grow 78% of the almonds in the world.
But for far too long, giant agribusiness has dominated both the market and agricultural policymaking, leaving our family farms behind. It is time to break up "Big Ag", end their sweetheart tax breaks, foster more competition, and put our family farms first.
Where to start:
Promote sustainable agriculture by providing financial support and incentives to farmers that adopt climate-friendly techniques and practices.
Build local and regional food supply chains to increase access to distribution markets for small and medium-sized family farms and widen the availability of fresh, healthy, and local-grown produce for nearby communities.
Expand Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits to include use for organic products, which would support organic farmers, grow the market, and allow everyone to eat the healthiest food available.