conservation, and increase urban tree planting—which will help address extreme heat in many of our cities. When coupled with the $8.3 billion provided in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for western water infrastructure— including water recycling, desalination, aging infrastructure repairs, and other water infrastructure projects—Congress has taken significant action to increase drought resiliency and bolster water supplies in the short-, medium-, and long-term. Short of introducing legislation to make it rain, this is a good start. But as we face what looks to be another dry year following the worst drought in 1,200 years, extreme heat, and record wildfires, we can no longer depend on plans and solutions designed and built for a different climate, which is why I’m working to support new and innovative strategies for water conservation and drought resilience, including water reuse, reclamation, recycling and efficiency. C. Farm Bill: The Farm Bill is critical for California communities, whether vulnerable families that receive food and nutrition assistance or for the 69,000 farms and ranches that produce more than 50 percent of the nation’s fruits and vegetables and more than 400 agricultural commodities. This year I visited farmers and local leaders in the Central Valley, and I worked a day in the fields with farmworkers in Southern California. This helped me see firsthand the challenges we must address in the Farm Bill to ensure the equitable treatment of California producers—whether by improving risk management tools for specialty crops, supporting the growth of organic agriculture, or supporting university researchers helping to ensure a safe and reliable food supply. D. Climate change: The federal government must play a role in the response to climate change, especially as Western states on the frontlines of the climate crisis face drought, wildfires, and extreme heat. This year, Democrats passed the Inflation Reduction Act , which is the largest investment in history to tackle the climate crisis. By investing approximately $369 billion over the next 10 years in energy security, environmental justice, and climate

change programs, the act will lower carbon emissions by roughly 40 percent by 2030. These measures will also create good-paying, green economy jobs and keep down energy costs for consumers. In the last five years, California has experienced some of its most destructive and deadly fires in recorded history. Last year, I was proud to have secured $10 billion for the Wildfire Hurricane Indemnity Program (WHIP+) to help agricultural producers who were affected by wildfires in 2020 and 2021, including those who have smoke-tainted crops, and I secured provisions to increase the payment limit for assistance, specifically for the specialty crops and high value crops prevalent in California, such as wine grapes. I will continue working with my colleagues on the Senate authorizing and appropriations committees to ensure the

drought and wildfire crises we are facing are adequately addressed and reflected in the upcoming farm bill. E. What is the future for production agriculture in California? California is blessed with many natural advantages, and Californians have always been pioneers of new ways to store, transport and save water that fuels some of the most fertile agricultural land and the most vibrant communities in the world. We must acknowledge the realities of higher temperatures, reduced precipitation, and more frequent drought. I look forward to rolling up my sleeves and working closely with the agricultural industry to confront the difficult, complex and politically-fraught challenges we have to tackle if we’re going to be good stewards of California’s land and water, for our children and for future generations.

Sen. Padilla at Blue Diamond Almonds in 2021

Sen. Padilla at an almond hulling facility



Western Grower & Shipper | www.wga.com

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