Today, Congressman David G. Valadao (CA-22) introduced two bipartisan bills to improve the domestic specialty crop industry – the Specialty Crop Domestic Market Promotion Program Act and the Specialty Crop Mechanization Assistance Act. Specialty crops are a cornerstone of California agriculture – the state produces the most specialty crops in the country both in quantity and diversity, with over 400 different commodities produced in the state per year.
“Our specialty crop producers in California have faced many challenges over the last few years. From supply chain backlogs at our ports, rising input costs, labor shortages, and drought – farmers have continued growing our nation’s food despite these obstacles,” said Congressman Valadao. “Specialty crop producers face unique challenges, and we need to ensure they are better equipped to handle them. These bills make technology and resources available to our specialty crop producers so they can access new markets and remain competitive.”
“American farmers produce some of the best quality and nutritious food in the world. Our fresh fruit and vegetable industries are critical to our food security and rural economies,” said Congressman LaMalfa. “I’m pleased to join my colleagues in cosponsoring these important pieces of legislation for our specialty crop producers and California agriculture.”
“California produces over half of the nation’s fresh produce. But supply chain disruptions, COVID-19, and the drought have made it more difficult for specialty crop producers to put food on America’s dinner table,” said Congressman Costa. “I’m proud to support these pieces of legislation to equip producers with the tools they need to access new markets and safeguard our food supply chain.”
“CFFA is proud to have worked with the California Table Grape Commission to co-lead this effort to expand the promotion of the U.S. specialty crop industry domestically. Many healthy specialty crops are grown in the U.S. and should be enjoyed by all Americans. The Specialty Crop Domestic Market Promotion and Development Program Act of 2023 will enhance the opportunity of American growers, including CFFA members, to better market their produce to U.S. consumers. CFFA thanks Congressman Valadao and Congressman Costa for their bipartisan partnership to support American farmers and consumers,” said President of the California Fresh Fruit Association Ian Lemay.
“CFFA is proud to have worked with the California Table Grape Commission to co-lead this collaborative effort to help equip farmers with the tools and technologies they need to thrive in a rapidly changing world. I would like to thank Congressman Valadao and Congressman Costa for their partnership to support the needs of American agriculture. This bill will not only support farmers, but also their employees, to ensure that America continues to a global leader in agricultural production,” said President of the California Fresh Fruit Association Ian Lemay.
The Specialty Crop Domestic Market Promotion Program Act would create a program that helps specialty crop producers market their products to access American markets. It replicates the popular Market Access Program (MAP) through USDA’s Agriculture Marketing Service (AMS) specifically for specialty crop producers to break into niche domestic markets. Rep. Valadao was joined in introduction of the bill by Reps. Darren Soto (FL-09), Jim Costa (CA-21), and Doug LaMalfa (CA-01).
Read the full text of the bill here.
The Specialty Crop Mechanization Assistance Act makes it easier for specialty crop producers to remain competitive in the face of labor shortages by making expensive automation technology more accessible to producers. This bill aims to create a reimbursement-based cost-share program which would permit growers and processors to invest more in these time and money-saving technologies. Rep. Valadao was joined in introduction of the bill by Reps. Jim Costa (CA-21), Jimmy Panetta (CA-19), and Dough LaMalfa (CA-01).
Read the full text of the bill here.