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Block grant listening session slated for Monday at fairgrounds

October 27, 2001

IMPERIAL — Producers of California's vast agricultural harvest are invited to a hearing Monday at the Imperial Valley Expo here to advise the California Department of Food and Agriculture on the best uses for federal block grants to assist specialty crop growers.

This is the fourth of five sessions scheduled this month in California to provide a forum for ideas on how $64 million in federal funds should be allocated. The session is scheduled for 9 a.m.

The funds have been made available through the Emergency Agricultural Assistance Act of 2001. At the urging of California's congressional delegation and CDFA Secretary William J. Lyons Jr., this measure provides assistance for California specialty crops and commodities, which number more than 350.

"Despite our abundant production, California's farmers and ranchers are facing tremendous hardships," said Secretary Lyons. "Our hope is that these funds can help the long-term profitability of our industry."

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At the listening session, CDFA and county agricultural commissioners will describe the scope of the block grant program and receive comments and suggestions from members of the community. All ideas that assist the bottom line of specialty crop producers will be considered.

Comments also will be accepted in writing through Thursday. Submit comments to CDFA Specialty Crop Block Grant Program, 1220 N St., suite 428, Sacramento, CA 95814.

For information call the Office of Public Affairs at (916) 654-0462.

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