Congressman Panetta Meets with U.S. Secretary of Agriculture in California

November 8, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Jimmy Panetta (D-CA-20) recently met with United States Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue.  The Secretary was in California over the weekend for a visit to the Central Valley.  Congressman Panetta and Congressman Jim Costa (D-CA-16) met with Secretary Perdue at a farm owned by 21-year-old Mark Cavallero in Madera County.  Mr. Cavallero is a 2017 National FFA Organization American Star Farmer finalist.   

Secretary Perdue and the Congressmen toured Mr. Cavallero’s farm, an almonds and table grapes operation, to learn more about how to help young producers own and operate agribusinesses.  They were able to then sit down and discuss the need for investments in beginning farmer programs, water infrastructure, export markets, and immigration reform.

“Secretary Perdue saw first-hand the unique challenges that farmers, particularly beginning farmers, face every day in California,” said Congressman Panetta.  “As the representative of a major agriculture producing district and a member of the House Agriculture Committee, I was honored to have the opportunity to directly share with the Secretary the serious issues and success stories of our farmers, farmworkers, and shippers on the central coast of California.  I look forward to continuing the conversation with Secretary Perdue about the agriculture workforce, investments in new farmers, and agriculture research as we craft the 2018 Farm Bill.”

About the National FFA Award

The National FFA Organization, formerly known as Future Farmers of America, selected 16 students from throughout the United States as finalists for its 2017 top achievement awards: American Star Farmer, American Star in Agribusiness, American Star in Agricultural Placement and American Star in Agriscience.

The American Star Awards represent the best of the best among thousands of American FFA Degree recipients. The award recognizes FFA members who have developed outstanding agricultural skills and competencies through the completion of a supervised agricultural experience (SAE) program. A required activity in FFA, an SAE allows members to learn by doing.

Members can own and operate an agricultural business, intern at an agricultural business or conduct an agriculture-based scientific experiment and report the results. Other requirements to achieve the award include demonstrating top management skills; completing key agricultural education, scholastic and leadership requirements; and earning an American FFA Degree, the organization’s highest level of student accomplishment.