Washington (CNN)Rep. David Valadao, R-California, confirmed Tuesday his family was no longer operating their dairy farm after the Los Angeles Times reported a bank seized the property following his failure to resolve more than $8 million in loans that have not been repaid.
“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 provided to CNN. “While this has been an especially difficult experience, I remain hopeful that sharing my story will help those going through similar situations. This is exactly why I ran for Congress — to give agriculture communities across the nation a voice in Washington.”
Agriculture lender Rabobank sued Valadao’s Triple V Dairy farm in November, the Los Angeles Times reported, and both sides agreed in March to hand control of the farm over to the bank until it is sold.
Valadao represents California’s 21st District, which sits in the agriculture-rich Central Valley. His father, who emigrated from Portugal, started a dairy farm a few years before Valadao was born, according to the congressman’s website.
Having grown up around dairy, he’s made agriculture a central policy issue during his three terms in Congress. He previously took on roles with the California Milk Advisory Board and Western States Dairy Trade Association.
Due to the debt from his family farm, Valadao, who’s seeking a fourth term, has been repeatedly described as the poorest member of Congress, including in analysis reported by the publication Roll Call.