Agriculture leaders in both the House and Senate have made a commitment to passage of a new farm bill this year, after the 2008 farm bill was given a one-year extension as part of the fiscal cliff negotiations. The extension was a short-term answer to keep American agriculture moving.

As the new farm bill is crafted by both the House and Senate Agriculture Committees, one note of interest is the new representation California and the state’s almond industry have on the House Agriculture Committee. There are now six members from California — a record number in recent history. California members include Jim Costa, D-16, Jeff Denham, R-10, John Garamendi, D-3, Doug LaMalfa, R-1, Gloria Negrete McLeod, D-35, and Juan Vargas, D-51.

Even more exciting is that four of the six represent districts containing both almond growers and almond handlers, and can provide a strong voice for specialty crop programs in agriculture legislation. The Almond Board of California will continue to monitor the farm bill as it moves through Congress, as well as other state and federal legislation that may have an impact on the almond industry.

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