The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday passed by a bipartisan margin of 246 to 175 the Sacramento-San Joaquin Valley Water Reliability Act (H.R. 1837).  The bill, introduced by Representative Devin Nunes (R-CA), will end a “man-made drought,” which is the result of water intended for California farm and ranch land irrigation being cut off and diverted to the San Francisco Bay in the name of protecting a three-inch minnow, the Delta smelt.

The National Chicken Council joined a large number of national, regional, and local farm, agriculture, livestock, and water associations in support of the bill.  The California Poultry Federation also joined in supporting the bill from the poultry industry.

NCC President Mike Brown commended Rep. Nunes and members of the House who supported this legislation that will bring water supply certainty to the Sacramento and San Joaquin Valleys, protect 30,000 jobs, generate millions in federal revenue, and decrease reliance on foreign food sources.

“U.S. animal agriculture producers, especially those in poultry, are facing a very critical time,” Brown said in a letter sent this week to Rep. Nunes.  “Full production of all crops across the United States is necessary to hold down food inflation, expand exports, and re-employ workers.  It is not acceptable to have arbitrary and unnecessary government restrictions on the appropriate and prudent use of cropland in the Valley.”

Brown continued, “Government policies and programs have since 2006 mandated the over-use of corn to produce ethanol.  This is the primary reason the U.S. chicken industry had in 2011 its worst financial year in decades.  Although H.R. 1837 cannot by itself correct that misguided situation, allowing the Central Valley of California to once again produce agricultural commodities would be one positive step to begin to help offset certain government programs that are negatively impacting U.S. chicken producers/processors.”

A copy of  the letter sent to Rep. Nunes is available here.