Farmers say new congress will be dealing with some old problems

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Valley farmers are eager to see the republican-controlled congress take on issues dealing with the California drought.

Farmers say the new congress will be dealing with some old problems. They just hope the discussions over water begin sooner rather than later.

Farmers hope their concerns aren't ignored by the new congress on Capitol Hill. The Valley's top industry, agriculture, seeks a legislative fix to an on-going drought problem.

Ryan Jacobsen with the Farm Bureau said, "Hands down number one water. Obviously looking for some kind of congressional solution this year to the Valley's water woes. We don't know if we're headed for a fourth year of drought but right now things don't look too good."

Congressman David Valadao of Hanford saw his emergency drought relief bill fall short last month. He says his priority is to continue to seek ways to ease pumping restrictions to move more water to the Valley.

Valadao said, "If there's something we can do short-term we're obviously would look at that but the ultimate goal still has to be long term because our communities need it."

Manuel Cunha of the Nisei Farmers League says the Ag industry can't wait four more years for solutions.

Cunha explained, "If we don't deal with this water, I lose any more farmland then that means our workforce is really going to take a hit and that could cost even more damage to where crops aren't going to be harvested."

Some farmers would be happy with a temporary fix until long-term water solutions could be reached.

Ag leaders will also be keeping close tabs on budgeting for the farm bill.

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