Press Releases

Washington, DC – California will receive millions in funding for key priorities such as food safety, pest detection, nutrition, and specialty crop assistance programs included in the Fiscal Year 2008 Agriculture appropriations bill approved today by the Senate Appropriations Committee, U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) announced.

“California is the fifth largest food and agricultural commodities supplier in the world, and is the nation’s exclusive producer of many crops, including almonds, artichokes, raisins, and walnuts. The State’s produce and food products are recognized around the world for quality and safety. And the industry generated over $9 billion in agricultural exports in 2005 alone,” Senator Feinstein said. “But the State’s farmers bear an enormous responsibility for ensuring that these food crops are kept free of pests and other diseases. When an outbreak, such as the E.coli found in spinach last year, occurs, this important sector of California’s economy is put in jeopardy.

And in California alone, farmers spend about $3 billion a year to manage and remediate pest infestations, many of which are invasive species that were not caught at ports of entry.  So, the funds approved today will help California farmers contain and eradicate pests such as the Glassy-Winged Sharpshooter or the Light Brown Apple Moth. 

However, it’s important that our nation is better protected from these pests coming into the country in the first place. So, I will continue to push for legislation to return the responsibility for agriculture inspections at our borders to the logical place: the United States Department of Agriculture.”

The spending bills approved today in Committee will likely be considered by the full Senate later this year.

Notably, the FY 2008 Agriculture appropriations bill includes the following California-specific projects:

Inspection, Detection, Eradication and Control

  • $990,000 for California County Agricultural Commissioners Import Inspection Program
  • $831,000 for California County Agricultural Commissioners Pest Detection Program

Food Safety

  • $700,000 for Fresh Produce Food Safety Research at the University of California
  • $2 million for the Western Region FDA Center of Excellence at UC Davis

“The success of California’s agriculture industry, including organic and specialty crops, relies on the public’s trust in the safety of these crops,” Senator Feinstein said.  “This bill funds a new FDA Center of Excellence for Food Safety at the University of California – the first such center on the West Coast. The Center’s research on food safety and security will provide California with an important tool against further outbreaks.”

Agricultural Research

  • $1.5 million for Pierce's Disease Research at the University of California
  • $1.2 million for the Viticulture Consortium (NY, CA, PA)
  • $250,000 for the California State University’s Agriculture Research Initiative

Rural Development and Conservation

  • $200,000 for the Municipal Water District of Orange County’s Water Conservation Program

The bill also includes report language encouraging the U.S. Department of Agriculture to consider applications from Alpine County for law enforcement communications infrastructure and the City of Santa Paula for water and waste disposal.

The bill also includes the following national programs of significance to California:

Inspection, Detection, Eradication and Control

  • $23.175 million for Glassy-Winged Sharpshooter / Pierce’s Disease Control Program
  • $4.111 million for Sudden Oak Death Control
  • $62.61 for Fruit Fly Exclusion and Detection
  • $1 million for Light Brown Apple Moth Control

Agricultural Marketing

  • $200 million for the Market Access Program
  • $7 million for the Specialty Crop Block Grant
  • $2 million for Technical Assistance for Specialty Crops
  • $3.18 million for Organic Standards/National Organic Program

Rural Development and Conservation

  • $10 million for Rural Empowerment Zones, (including the Desert Communities Empowerment Zone in the Coachella Valley)

Food and Nutrition

  • $13.89 billion for Child Nutrition Programs
  • $5.72 billion for the Women, Infants, and Children Program
  • $128 million for the Commodity Supplemental Food Program
  • $20 million for the Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program