News Release
California Department of Food and Agriculture
Media Contacts:
Nancy Lungren, Deputy Secretary of Public Affairs, (916) 531-3039, nlungren@cdfa.ca.gov
Steve Lyle, Director of Public Affairs, (916) 654-0462
CDFA SECRETARY A.G. KAWAMURA APPLAUDS COMMITTEE’S APPROVAL OF DISASTER ASSISTANCE FOR CALIFORNIA FARMERS
CDFA
Release #07-026
SACRAMENTO – The California agricultural community received good news today in the form of the Senate Appropriations Committee’s approval of $140 million in funding for relief related to the January 2007 freeze and $95 million in relief related to the 2006 summer heat wave.  The proposal has already been approved by the House of Representatives, and now heads for a vote by the full Senate.

“The committee’s passage today of relief funding for California farmers, ranchers and workers affected by the winter freeze and last summer’s heat wave is a welcome response to requests by Governor Schwarzenegger and the California congressional delegation,” said Kawamura.  “Damage from these disasters ranged from lost jobs and wages to lost crops and productivity.  Our farmers and their workers provide much of the food that graces our nation’s tables, so it is appropriate that we extend this helping hand in their time of crisis.”

Over the past few years, California’s farming and ranching community has been battered by heat waves, freezes, flooding, and even a fishery failure on the Klamath River.  “At each turn, Governor Schwarzenegger has worked quickly to minimize damage and secure assistance for California agriculture,” Kawamura said.  “Our state representatives and our congressional delegation have likewise been responsive to these urgent issues, and I thank them for their diligence.”

The committee approved the following funding:

• $100 million to help small businesses and farmworkers recover from the 2007 freeze.

• $40 million for California farmers to rehabilitate or replace citrus trees that were damaged or died as a result of the 2007 freeze.

• $95 million for California milk production losses due to the 2006 heat wave.

In addition, the committee approved funding nationwide for disasters that occurred in 2005, 2006 and 2007, which includes California’s 2007 freeze and 2006 heat wave. This funding includes $2.09 billion for crop loss compensation and $1.498 billion for livestock loss compensation. Farmers and producers will apply directly to the Farm Service Agency for compensation.

The January 2007 freeze caused more than $1.3 billion in reported damages and loss to the California agricultural industry, $800 million of that from citrus crop alone.  Avocado losses totaled $132 million; nursery stock $161 million; strawberries $41 million; and many other commodities suffered losses as well.
CDFA staff will work with partners in the federal government to ensure that relief funds are distributed as quickly as possible to fill the urgent needs of the agricultural community as they replant and rehabilitate groves and nursery stocks, restore the health and productivity of their dairy herds, and return their farming operations to full employment levels for their workers.

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California Department of Food and Agriculture Office of Public Affairs
1220 N St., Ste. 214, Sacramento, CA 95814
916-654-0462, www.cdfa.ca.gov