Short Takes: Cardoza will watch over California's ag priorities

Cardoza will watch over California's ag priorities

It's about time. Rep. Dennis Cardoza, D-Merced, was named to the House of Representatives Conference Committee to hammer out the details of the 2007 (that's right, 2007) farm bill with his counterparts from the Senate. Both chambers passed similar bills last year, but the bills have been sitting around in Congress waiting for the time to be right for legislators to work out compromises on a few important issues. Past farm bills have always been the province of Midwestern and Southern politicians; not this one. California is the nation's most important ag state and Cardoza has become one of our most important representatives in this realm. He championed the inclusion of money to study crop diseases, put more fresh food in school lunches and help promote U.S. food products abroad. He also will insist that more be done to help farmers do more to lessen their impacts on air and water through the Environmental Quality Improvement Program. With him on the Conference Committee, there is less of a chance that these important programs will be compromised out of the final legislation. Once the conferees reconcile the two pieces of legislation, it will go back to the full Senate and House for votes, then be sent to President Bush for his signature. Cardoza's comment? "Finally."