The California Farm Bureau Federation announced early Monday it supports U.S. Rep. Jim Costa, D-Fresno, as he seeks chairmanship of the House Committee on Agriculture.
The committee works to protect the nation’s food supply system, helps to ensure all Americans are fed, advocates for urban and rural America and works to maintain competitive markets for agriculture around the world.
Pointing out that there hasn’t been a Californian as the Agriculture Committee chair since 1867, CFBF President Jamie Johansson said, “California is the largest and most diverse agricultural state in the nation. Given his decades of experience in California agriculture, we believe Congressman Jim Costa is the right person to lead the committee as Americans grapple with the challenge of keeping nutritious food available for all, growing the economic opportunities for new and existing agriculturalists and addressing the risk brought by a changing climate.”
Costa is a third-generation farmer who represents California’s 16th Congressional District, which lies in the heart of farm and ranch country and includes urban and rural communities in Fresno, Madera and Merced counties.
Describing Costa as “a longtime advocate for agriculture in the San Joaquin Valley and all of California,” Johansson said, “Congressman Costa understands that the fates of rural America and agriculture are tied together, and also how dependent cities and suburbs are on us for their food. He has worked tirelessly to advance issues critical to agricultural communities and will continue that commitment as chair.”
The Farm Bureau has a deep-rooted relationship with Costa, who has a bipartisan track record of working across the aisle to solve important policy issues such as water, trade, immigration and the farm bill.
“Throughout this especially challenging year due to market disruptions caused by the pandemic, Congressman Costa has been influential in providing federal relief to farmers and ranchers,” Johansson said. “The federal relief is reaching the farmers who need it, as they work to respond to effects of the pandemic on farmers large and small.”
A signifcant role
Costa has played a significant role on the House Agriculture Committee since he joined it in 2005, including serving on the conference committee for the 2014 and 2018 Farm Bills and as chair of the Subcommittee on Livestock and Foreign Agriculture.
He also maintains a position on the House Natural Resources Committee. The American Farm Bureau Federation named him a recipient of its Friend of the Farm Bureau Award.
Farm Bureau also said it would work with the administration of President-elect Biden to advance policies benefiting California farmers and ranchers.
“Throughout more than a century of service, the California Farm Bureau has advocated with administrations of both parties on behalf of our members and to assure plentiful, safe, affordable food and farm products for Americans,” Johansson said. “Farm Bureau will work with the new administration and our state’s former U.S. senator, Vice President-elect Harris, to address challenges from immigration reform to water resources to international trade and wildfire-prevention efforts.”
Rep. David Scott of Georgia also announced last week he is vying for the committee's chairmanship.