California Table Grape Industry Aims to Enhance Specialty Crop Competitiveness; Ian LeMay Details

California Table Grape Industry Aims to Enhance Specialty Crop Competitiveness; Ian LeMay Details

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FRESNO, CA - With the state’s table grape growers top of mind, the California Table Grape Commission (CTGC) is providing the USDA with input on how it can enhance specialty crop competitiveness. This comes following testimony shared by incoming President Ian LeMay at the CDFA state board hearing at the World Ag Expo in Tulare, California.

According to LeMay, the purpose of the testimony before the state board was to encourage the inclusion of table grape grower priorities in the comments that CDFA will make to USDA on behalf of the state’s specialty crop growers.

Ian LeMay, Incoming President, California Table Grape Commission
Ian LeMay, Incoming President, California Table Grape Commission

“Competitiveness has long been a commission priority,” said LeMay in his statements. “We hope that the state board sees value in the recommendations and includes them in its feedback to USDA.”

LeMay’s testimony provided recommendations focused on enhancing competitiveness in the United States marketplace, expanding exports, extending USDA food purchases for those in need, supporting research initiatives, and encouraging the adoption of new technologies, a release stated.

Ian LeMay recently shared input on how the USDA can enhance specialty crop competitiveness on behalf of the California Table Grape Commission

Some of the highlights include:

  • Noting the need to sell more U.S. grown products to U.S. consumers, the recommendations include the establishment of a domestic promotion program modeled after the successful Market Access Program (MAP)
  • Citing the pride that table grape growers feel in providing nutritious food to those in need, the commission recommends an increase in the annual financial commitment for the purchase of fruits and vegetables to distribute to those who are food insecure. A pilot program that expands procurement to include fresh fruits and vegetables in international food aid programs is also recommended
  • Noting that economic viability requires research, innovation, and adoption, the commission advocates support for legislation establishing a fund for mechanization research and for the development of a grant program to help growers adopt new technology. Additional funding for USDA table grape varietal research is sought to help ensure that future varieties are resistant to pests, diseases, and weather and are affordable to produce, stable to ship, and meet consumer expectations

To read LeMay’s testimony in full, click here.

Stay tuned to AndNowUKnow to see the impact of these recommendations.

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California Table Grape Commission

Generations of families have been growing grapes in California since 1839. That wealth of knowledge and care has been…