Senator Hurtado and Congressman Garamendi Release Statements Following Hearing Focused on Anonymous Buyers of Critical Agriculture Land
SACRAMENTO, CA – Senator Melissa Hurtado (D-Bakersfield) released the following statements following an informational hearing on navigating threats to California agriculture that included Congressman John Garamendi, and others:
“What are these anonymous buyers of agricultural land trying to hide? Critical land acquisitions on this scale can potentially compound our cost of living, as well as the cost of our food, water, and energy. I do not understand how these individuals are able to sleep at night. These type of land grabs are occurring across the state, and we should all be concerned. I applaud Congressman Garamendi on his leadership and efforts to expose the true intentions behind these major deals,” said Senator Melissa Hurtado.
“The big tech billionaires should be held to account as financial backers for Flannery Associates, who are using secrecy, bullying, and mobster tactics to force generational farm families to sell their land. They have forced farmers off the land, hiring big city lawyers to file a federal constraint of trade lawsuit against seven families who refused to sell their land. “If these out-of-town investors plan to convince Solano residents and their elected representatives that building a new city on productive agricultural land is a wise scheme, they are off to a terrible start at earning the community’s trust,” Garamendi said. “I thank the California Legislature’s Senate Committee on Agriculture for holding this important hearing and inviting me to testify. I look forward to working with the Committee to help California’s agricultural producers navigate the threats ahead.”
In discussing threats to California’s agriculture, part of the hearing focused on investors who recently purchased 52,000 acres of farmland valued at $1 billion surrounding Travis Air Force Base in Solano County, California. The investors paid prices for the lands considerably above market rate, without any disclosure of intentions, engagement with local officials, or transparency on the investors’ sources of capital.
The Senate Agriculture Committee hearing is viewable in its entirety with close captioning on the Senate website at https://www.senate.ca.gov/media/senate-agriculture-committee-20230829/video