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Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., told PinalCentral that drought resilience funding that she was able to secure as part of the Inflation Reduction Act will help address serious drought issues that are affecting Pinal County.
Sinema was the final Democrat to join in supporting the bill, making her a pivotal part of a Senate that is split 50-50 between the parties. Among a list of conditions for her support, along with preserving tax loophole, was $4 billion for drought mitigation efforts in the Western states.
The bill passed the Senate on Sunday and now needs the approval of the House of Representatives before going to President Joe Biden’s desk for a signature.
Sinema said it is not just farmers who are affected by the drought, but the general community.
“That’s going to have a huge impact here in Pinal County, where farmers are already dealing with Tier One water cuts,” she said. “It’s not just farmers who are dealing with the cuts, it’s all of us in Arizona.
“If feed can’t get to the cows, cows can’t produce milk, which means Arizonans don’t have a supply of dairy. Part of what I’ve been doing these last few days is helping folks understand the supply chain, what it means to not have the water we need, the impact that it has on farmers, but the impact it has on every single one of us as Arizonans.”
The senator made her comments at Desperado Dairy, where she met with local farming stakeholders along with the state president of the Arizona Farm Bureau, Stefanie Smallhouse. Sinema was given a tour of the Casa Grande dairy operations before sitting down to listen and discuss famers’ concerns and possible solutions to the drought that is seriously affecting farming across Pinal County.
Sinema said she had heard many innovative and interesting ideas from the farming community on how to combat the effects of the drought and was confident positive solutions could be found.