Press Releases

Washington, DC – The Fiscal Year 2007 Emergency Supplemental bill approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee today includes $4.151 billion in emergency farm relief for farmers across the country, including millions in assistance for California farmers impacted by extreme weather that hit the state in 2006 and 2007, U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer (both D-Calif.) announced.

“Over the past two years, Californians have stood in the face of natural disasters and have received little or no relief.  This bill provides assistance to help people maintain their family farms, small businesses, and way of life,” Senator Feinstein said.

Senator Boxer said, “Last year’s citrus freeze devastated farmers and farm workers across California.  I am pleased that the Senate Appropriations Committee has recognized the extent of the damage and increased funds for disaster relief, which will help our agricultural community to recover more quickly and prepare for next season’s harvest.”

The disaster assistance funding includes compensation for crop and livestock losses incurred due to the 2006 heat wave and the 2007 freeze, and assistance for farm workers unemployed due to the freeze:

  • $2.09 billion for crop loss compensation nationwide for disasters in 2005, 2006, or 2007.  Farmers will apply directly to the Farm Service Agency for compensation.
  • $1.498 billion for livestock loss compensation nationwide for disasters in 2005, 2006, or 2007.  Producers will apply directly to the Farm Service Agency for compensation.
  • $95 million for California milk production losses due to the 2006 heat wave.
  • $40 million for farmers to rehabilitate or replace trees impacted by the 2007 freeze.
  • $100 million for small business and farm worker assistance.

“California suffered a terrible freeze this January.  We have incurred – to date – almost $1.4 billion in crop damages.  This number continues to rise,” Senator Feinstein said.  “What is worse, many citrus and avocado trees will be unable to bear fruit next season because of damage they sustained in the freeze.  Some trees will need to be replaced, which means growers will not see a crop for at least three years. 

“We are also providing funds to help farm workers who have been put out of work by the freeze.  These hardworking Americans – who are essential to bringing food to us – are having difficulty putting food on the table and it is right for us to assist them.”

The Supplemental bill will now go before the full Senate for consideration.  Once the bill passes the Senate, it will go to conference with the House.  The House bill includes $1.8 billion for crop loss compensation, $1.48 billion for livestock compensation, and $20 million for orchard rehabilitation due to the 2007 freeze.  It does not provide funding for milk losses or farm workers.

Senator Feinstein is a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee.