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Federal disaster relief funds could come to flood-damaged Central Coast farms

Flood damage in Santa Maria.
Photo Courtesy of Matthew Merrill, Mesa Vineyard Management.
Flood damage in Santa Maria.

Federal dollars could be coming to Central Coast farms that flooded last winter.

After months of advocacy from local lawmakers, the Biden administration is now asking Congress for help. This week the White House requested $2.8 billion in disaster aid for farmers and ranchers, including California farmers who faced flooding damage.

Congressman Salud Carbajal represents parts of the Central Coast.

“ I am really pleased to see the White House joining the push I have been leading with my colleagues to get Congress to approve disaster relief funds for California’s farmers,” Carbajal said.

Carbajal said this year’s storms caused an estimated $1.4 billion dollars in damages to California agriculture.

“The devastating storms we saw earlier this year have been a heavy burden– intense rains, catastrophic flooding, fields so saturated that many acres were left unplanted,” Carbajal said.

The California Department of Food and Agriculture reports the state grows about a third of vegetables and three quarters of fruits and nuts in the US.

“And even now, damage is continuing to roil this deeply important part of the Central Coast economy,” Carbajal said.

Carbajal said if farmers are not given the aid they need soon, there could be lasting consequences.

KCBX Reporter Amanda Wernik graduated from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo with a BS in Journalism. Amanda is currently a fellow with the USC Center for Health Journalism, completing a data fellowship that will result in a news feature series to air on KCBX in the winter of 2024.
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