US Congressman Kevin McCarthy announced a slew of provisions pertinent to Kern and Tulare counties from the fiscal year 2021 appropriations and COVID stimulus bill. Among the relief provisions was $13 billion to provide financial assistance to America’s agricultural producers.
This was very welcome news to Tricia Stever Blattler, executive director of the Tulare County Farm Bureau: “It does add some dollars to the existing specialty crop block grant program, and local agriculture market program. Certainly specialty crop funding hits really close to home. There’s a lot of specialty crops here in the valley, and seeing additional monies augment that grant program is very good, very important for us here locally.”
Stever Blattler said a particular aspect of specialty crop funding, the $69.5 million from the fiscal year 2021 appropriations to combat and suppress citrus greening disease, is vital to Tulare County as one of the largest citrus growing regions in the nation.
The spending bill also included $206 million for the Friant-Kern Canal, which supplies water to farmers and families in Kern and Tulare counties, to repair a subsidence-induced sag that has cut water deliveries by 60%.