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DELANO, CA – Today, Senator Melissa Hurtado (D-Sanger) held a press conference on Senate Bill 1066—the Farmworker’s Drought Resilience Pilot Project--that will provide assistance to eligible farmworkers, who have been impacted by drought:


“The ongoing drought, the lack of water infrastructure investment, the imbalanced regulation at the water board and the ongoing situation in Ukraine are all impacting our food system in ways we have not seen before or even felt yet,” said Senator Hurtado. “Now is the time to invest and support our food system, and to do that we need to invest in our farmworkers. We have seen significant losses to California’s economy, and in 2021 alone, the drought caused $1.2 billion in direct cost to the agriculture industry and the loss of more than 8,500 jobs. Nowhere else has the impact of the drought been felt greater than here in the Central Valley by our farmworkers. Farmworkers have suffered more than ever, as they have lost vital work opportunities and hours, and it’s my intention that SB 1066 provide much needed assistance so that they can meet their basic needs. We must provide this drought relief now—not just when it comes to supplemental pay, but also by ensuring they have the water they need for their homes and health, and to continue the work they do to provide safe, nutritious food for us all.”


Picture 1: Senator Hurtado and members of the California Farmworkers Foundation in Delano, CA

It is estimated that one in four undocumented households are food insecure, meaning that they have limited or inconsistent access to adequate food—disturbingly, more than half of undocumented migrant and seasonal workers are food insecure. These same essential workers worked tirelessly to provide food during the COVID-19 pandemic, and are at risk of lay-offs during periods of drought in California.


Senate Bill 1066 will create a state-funded supplemental pay program that will provide cash assistance to eligible farmworkers. In order to be eligible, at least one member of the household must be a California resident, at least one member of the household must have worked as a farmworker for the entire period from March 11, 2020 until January 1, 2022. The household also must have received benefits under the CalFresh program or the California Food Assistance Program, or would have been eligible to receive benefits under either program for the entire period beginning March 11, 2020, to January 1, 2022, but for the immigration status of one or more members of the household. 


Last session, Senator Hurtado introduced Senate Bill 464, the Comida Para Todos (Food for All Act.) This bill will provide greater food security to low-income immigrant workers by expanding eligibility for state funded nutrition benefits to anyone ineligible for CalFresh due solely to their immigration status. The bill received implementation funding in the 2021-2022 State Budget.



About Senator Melissa Hurtado


Senator Melissa Hurtado represents a new generation of Latina leaders as the youngest woman ever elected to the California State Senate and a product of immigrant parents. Senator Hurtado represents the 14th Senate District and focuses on rural community issues that often go unheard — access to clean air and water, food insecurity and poverty, inequities in environmental policies, agriculture and access to health care. In July 2020, she was appointed to the national Biden Latino Leadership Committee alongside former Labor Secretary and current Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis – the only two California Latinas on the Committee.


For more information, visit Senator Hurtado’s Website here or find her on Twitter at @Senator_Hurtado