A Tulare County dairy farm co-owned by California Congressman David Valadao and five other family members has been seized by the bank after the family failed to pay back $8.3 million in loans.
In November, Rabobank sued Triple V Dairy, a farm Rep. Valadao owns with his extended family, for allegedly failing to pay back two loans. Both sides came to an agreement for the bank to take over on March 28 and now the bank has been working on auctioning off the cattle and equipment to pay off the debt.
“Like so many family dairy farms across the country, burdensome government regulations made it impossible for the operation to remain open,” Valadao said in a statement to the Los Angeles Times. “While this has been an especially difficult experience, I remain hopeful that sharing my story will help those going through similar situations.”
Because of his investment in the dairy, Valadao is one of the poorest members of Congress according to the Los Angeles Times. His net worth after liabilities due to several lines of credit for land, feed, and farming equipment is estimated at a negative $17.5 million.
Congressman Valadao was instrumental in getting the Federal Milk Marketing Order (FMMO) to regulate milk in California passed.
“As a dairy farmer myself, I experienced firsthand the serious disadvantages dealt to California dairy producers and I came to Congress to ensure Central Valley farmers and ranchers had a voice in Washington,” Valadao said. “Ultimately, my FMMO legislation provided an open and transparent process, in which California farmers had the final say regarding their own pricing system. Most importantly, implementation of a new pricing system will help California dairy farms compete on the national level, expand their operations, and create greatly needed jobs right here in the Central Valley.”