California has submitted recommendations to Congress on the upcoming farm bill — to inform discussions of the Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction, known as the Committee of 12 and tasked with making recommendations to reduce the federal deficit.  California’s recommendations focus on job creation, protecting the environment and natural resources, revitalizing rural economies, making investments in education, promoting renewable energy, and improving public health and nutrition.  

“The importance of the farm bill cannot be underestimated,” said CDFA Secretary Karen Ross. “This legislation supports a wide array of programs and initiatives that the public relies on every day – from the abundance and safety of our food, to public health and nutrition, economic development and the protection of our natural resources.”

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

The farm bill is 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 will expire in 2012, necessitating action by Congress.

California’s farm bill recommendations are available at www.cdfa.ca.gov/farm_bill.