A list of 70 farm groups and water districts from the state signed on to a letter last week asking House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to appoint Rep. Jim Costa, D-Fresno, as the new chair of the House Agriculture Committee. This adds to early support from the California Farm Bureau as well as Citrus Mutual trade groups for California, Florida and Texas.

“Much more needs to be done to provide (farmers) the resources needed to meet regulatory mandates and ensure farmers are true partners in environmental policy, and no one understands this as deeply as Jim,” said Western Growers President and CEO Dave Puglia in one letter.

The citrus groups argued that Costa, as a farmer himself, understands issues like pest and disease, trade, water and immigration.

Rep. David Scott, D-Ga., has also officially expressed interest in the position and has more seniority on the committee than Costa.