California Farmers Lose Powerful Allies In Congress

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News in brief: 
– The California agricultural industry faces a political void after losing two influential allies, Senator Dianne Feinstein and Representative Kevin McCarthy, who were strong advocates for the sector.
– With their unexpected departures, the industry is uncertain about how to fill the gap but is working to build relationships with urban lawmakers to address shared challenges.

California’s agricultural industry, the nation’s largest food producer, is reeling from the loss of two powerful congressional allies: Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Rep. Kevin McCarthy.

Feinstein, a Democrat, died in September 2023. She was a staunch advocate for California agriculture and was unafraid to prioritize farms over endangered fish in the state’s long-running water wars.

McCarthy, a Republican, was kicked out of the speakership by his own party in October 2023. He is a native of the Central Valley’s agricultural heartland and was one of California’s most effective champions for agriculture in Congress.

The sudden loss of these two allies has left a political void that the California agricultural industry is unsure how to fill.

President and CEO of the Western Growers Association, Tom Nassif described it as ‘a big hole to fill.’ Mr. Nassif, who heads the trade group which represents California farmers further added that ‘these were two people who had a deep understanding of agriculture and were willing to fight for us.’

The California agricultural industry is however working to build relationships with urban lawmakers. In the past, farmers and urban lawmakers have often clashed on issues such as water and pesticides. But in recent years, there has been a growing recognition that farmers and urban lawmakers need to work together to address the challenges facing California’s agricultural industry.

Joseph Akahome
Joseph Akahome
Joseph O Akahome (OJ) is a writer, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Literature from the University of Benin. He is an avid agriculturist, with a bias for poultry and an insatiable appetite for chicken wings. When he is neither reading nor researching, he likes to spend recreational time playing board games, or swimming in serene forested lakes.


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