Sen. Cannella Hosts Hearing on High-Speed Rail Project's Impact on California's Agriculture Industry

Friday, July 15, 2011

Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Anthony Cannella (R-Ceres) and Senate Transportation and Housing Committee Chairman Mark DeSaulnier (D-Concord) today hosted a joint informational hearing at the Merced County Board of Supervisors Chamber about the impact of high-speed rail on California’s agriculture industry.

“Agriculture is a major part of California’s economy, generating more than $34 billion in revenue from more than 400 different commodities across more than 25 million acres,” said Cannella. “With the first section of California’s high-speed rail system proposed to be built right through the heart of our state’s most fertile agriculture region, it is important that we fully understand the impact the project will have on this multibillion-dollar industry.”

Titled “From Food to Rail: High-Speed Rail Impacts on Agriculture,” the hearing included testimony from California High-Speed Rail Authority Chief Executive Officer Roelof van Ark, Grain and Feed Association Executive Vice President Chris Zanobini, Yosemite Farm Credit President and Chief Executive Officer Leonard Van Elderen, American Farmland Trust Policy Consultant Serena Unger, Merced County Supervisor John Pedrozo, Merced County Farm Bureau President Jeff Marchini, Kern County Farmer Holly King, Kings County Farmer John Tos and Preserve our Heritage Director Kole Upton.

“Today’s hearing offered an important opportunity for Senate Agriculture Committee and Senate Transportation Committee members to hear directly from both the High-Speed Rail Authority and from agriculture industry representatives about how this multibillion infrastructure project will affect agriculture – as well as how any negative impacts can be mitigated,” Cannella continued. “I appreciated hearing insight from all of today’s panelists and from concerned members of the public.”

Also in attendance at today’s hearing were Senator Doug LaMalfa (R-Richvale) and Senator Alan Lowenthal (D-Long Beach).

Photo Caption: Members of the Senate Agriculture Committee and the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee hear testimony from Central Valley farmers about the impacts of the high-speed rail project on California’s agriculture industry. Top Row (L-R): Senator Doug LaMalfa (R-Richvale), Senator Anthony Cannella (R-Ceres), Senate Agriculture Committee Consultant John Chandler, Senator Mark DeSaulnier (D-Concord) and Senator Alan Lowenthal (D-Long Beach). Bottom Row (L-R): Merced County Farm Bureau President Jeff Marchini, Kern County Farmer Holly King, Kings County Farmer John Tos, Preserve our Heritage Director Kole Upton and Merced County Supervisor John Pedrozo.

Photo Credit: Jessica Hsiang, Office of Senator Anthony Cannella