Kevin McCarthy
(Photo: HorizonUI /

By Valley Ag Voice Editorial Staff 

With the loss of representation from Central Valley native and agricultural advocate Kevin McCarthy, California faces an uncertain future. Still, the groundwork so diligently laid out by the former Speaker has further cemented the foundation and history of the valley in its efforts to feed the nation and the world.  

Throughout his extensive career, McCarthy was a champion for agriculture in our community. He contributed to crucial legislation and progress, such as the WIIN Act in 2016, which increased water exports to farmers, and the Friant-Kern Canal Project. 

Upon his initial election as Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, California Farm Bureau President Jamie Johansson expressed the Central Valley’s sentiments best. 

“As a former member of the House Agricultural Committee who hails from California’s vital Kern County farming region, Speaker McCarthy has long been an advocate for farmers and ranchers in the Golden State,” Johansson said. “He understands the importance of the nation’s leading agricultural economy and its bounty of ‘California-Grown’ products, which feed America and the world beyond.” 

McCarthy’s resume in Central Valley agriculture is extensive. While not every action for Central Valley interests was well-received, the congressman utilized his platform well to support local agriculture.  

In 2007, as a member of the House Agricultural Committee, McCarthy spoke against flaws in the Farm Bill, which would include tax increases on American businesses. Pushback from the Democratic majority rejected McCarthy’s compromise to strip tax increases from the bill, but a clear line was drawn for the future development of the bipartisan bill.  

Ten years later, McCarthy championed the Gaining Responsibility on Water Act to increase pumping and hasten the approval process of new water projects. The House of Representatives passed the GROW Act, restoring water deliveries to the Central Valley and preventing the government from requiring certain entities to relinquish their water rights for public lands. 

McCarthy was also largely involved in the Friant-Kern Canal project under the Trump administration, which addressed critical repairs and improved upon surface water availability for farmers. 

“The Tulare County Farm Bureau applauds President Trump, his administration, and our valley congressmen, especially Congressman McCarthy, for shepherding this project through the regulatory maze. As we all know, water is the engine that drives the San Joaquin Valley, and its availability affects ALL residents. Our water concerns continue, but this is a refreshing step in the right direction,” John C. Guthrie, former Tulare County Farm Bureau president, said in a press release. 

McCarthy’s commitment to agricultural interests in the Central Valley cannot be overstated. The lack of representation for California farmers and ranchers is apparent, even more so with losing our largest champion. However, with the achievements that were made, agriculture leaders and workers in the Central Valley have a foundation to finish what was started — one person makes a difference, and we are thankful for the impact Congressman McCarthy made. 

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