November 13, 2017 –
By JENNIFER BONNETT
Business Journal Writer
Congress plans to write a new farm bill next year, authorizing programs on conservation, research, nutrition and other aspects of agricultural and food policy — and local growers want to make sure their funding needs are met.
The Farm Bill is important to the California almond industry and other growers in the areas of trade, conservation, bioenergy, technical assistance, research and block grants. But it has fallen short, according to some growers.
Bill Lyons’ family has been in the farming and ranching business for 90 years.
From his Mapes Ranch west of Modesto, he grows almonds and is also diversified in alfalfa, wine grapes, forage mixes, walnuts, even cattle.
This vantage point, as well as serving as the former state secretary of agriculture, has given him a unique viewpoint of the Farm Bill and the various programs it funds.
“It’s important that the state growers and all of agriculture be engaged in the legislation, so I’m encouraging them to be involved in the Farm Bill, especially the specialty crops,” he said.
The House Agriculture Committee held a listening session in Modesto in August as part of its work to shape the new federal farm legislation. Its goal was to gather comments from farmers, ranchers and other interested people.
At that meeting, Almond Alliance of California President Kelly Covello reaffirmed that it is essential 2018 Farm Bill program funding levels are increased, especially as there hasn’t been any in the last two funding cycles.