Congressman John Garamendi (D-Calif.) and Congressman Doug LaMalfa (R-Calif.) announced the introduction of a bipartisan measure to protect farms and ranches from new flood rules that prevent them from growing. The bill, H.R. 3315, exempts agricultural structures like barns, sheds and silos from FEMA requirements that effectively prohibit construction in areas designated as floodplains. These regulations, which apply to new construction and rehabilitation of existing buildings, require structures to be raised above any potential flood lines –a requirement that is too costly and impractical for large structures like equipment sheds and rice dryers.
“The FEMA requirements threaten to put many farmers in Northern California out of business – and the problem is spreading across the country,” said Garamendi. “I thank Congressman LaMalfa for his leadership and dedication in tackling this problem. We will continue to work with district stakeholders in advocating for a solution.”
“We’re simply trying to bring some common sense to the new federal flood regulations and allow our region’s agriculture to continue growing,” said LaMalfa. “While most flood regulations make sense, farmers need to replace old buildings as they wear out and build new ones as their business grows. Agriculture is the backbone of the North State’s economy, and we need to ensure that it can continue growing well into the future.”
“This bill will provide some much-needed regulatory relief for our region. Unless there are changes to FEMA regulations, agriculture simply won’t be sustainable over the long term,” stated Sutter County Supervisor James Gallagher.
“We’re excited about the bipartisan leadership on this issue. Rural areas have been struggling under flood regulations for years, so we’re hopeful that this provides some much-needed relief to farmers and ranchers,” added Kristi More, executive director of the Agricultural Flood Management Alliance.