Congressman John Garamendi (D-CA03), a Member of the House Agriculture Committee, was honored this week at the USA Rice Federation’s annual Government Affairs Conference when he received the group’s first “Friend of the U.S. Rice Industry Award.” Garamendi is a rancher and pear farmer.
“As a society we’re growing increasingly detached from the land, so having Members of Congress who understand farm issues is very important,” said Nicole Montna Van Vleck, a rice producer from Yuba City, California on hand to present the award. “Congressman Garamendi is a strong advocate for our industry, was instrumental in helping get the Farm Bill through Congress, and is a true friend of the U.S. rice industry. We’re grateful for his support.”
Each year, U.S. farmers produce about 10 million tons of rice, half of which is exported. Meanwhile, 85% of the rice consumed in this country is grown here. The industry supports more than 125,000 U.S. jobs and contributes more than $34 billion to the economy.
“The 2014 Farm Bill was a long time coming, and navigating the complex legislation and negotiations was difficult,” said Betsy Ward, President & CEO of the USA Rice Federation. “Whether the issue is farm policy or trade, Congressman Garamendi is a vital ally for our industry and we appreciate and value our relationship.”
“I am honored by this award. Working with the industry, we have been able to solve problems and expand economic opportunities for Northern California rice farmers,” said Congressman Garamendi.
Congressman Garamendi has partnered with rice farmers to expand conservation for sustainable water-fowl hunting, ensure the farm bill recognizes differences between California temperate japonica rice and the South’s long grain rice, resolve trade matters, and address regulatory concerns. Agricultural businesses contribute $3 billion to the 3rd Congressional District’s economy.