Politics

Bank Seizes Valadao’s Family Farm

California congressman blames ‘burdensome government regulations’

The family of Rep. David Valadao, R-Calif., had its dairy farm seized because of unpaid loans. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A bank seized a farm owned by California Rep. David Valadao and his family after they failed to repay $8.3 million in loans.

Court documents show that in November, agriculture lender Rabobank sued Triple V Dairy in Fresno Superior Court for failing to repay the loans, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Valadao is named in the suit along with his wife, four other family members and 50 other unidentifed defendants, along with two other farms, the Times reported.

A statement by Valadao blamed government overreach for the family’s farm troubles.

“Like so many family dairy farms across the country, burdensome government regulations made it impossible for the operation to remain open,” he said in a statement. “While this has been an especially difficult experience, I remain hopeful that sharing my story will help those going through similar situations.”

Both sides agreed on March 28 to give the bank control of the farm until it is sold. The next court date is July 16.

Rabobank also appointed John Van Curen, president of Old West Ranch Company in Fresno, to handle daily operations at the dairy, according to the Fresno Bee.

Court documents show the farm had to sell as much cattle as possible and could sell dairy and breeding equipment to pay back the loans.

While it is not clear whether the auction scheduled for May 15 occurred, a May 21 inventory found the property had 17,000 cows, heifers, breeding bulls and calves as of April 2, the Bee found.

Triple V is largely operated by Valadao's brothers because House rules prohibit him from having a role in the day-to-day operations of the dairy.

Valadao first became interested in politics after lobbying through the California Milk Advisory Board and the Western States Dairy Trade Association.

This eventually led to Valadao serving in California’s State Assembly before his election to Congress in 2012.

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