Representatives Push for Investments in Specialty Crop Mechanization; Salud Carbajal and Doug LaMalfa Comment



Representatives Push for Investments in Specialty Crop Mechanization; Salud Carbajal and Doug LaMalfa Comment


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WASHINGTON, DC - Government reps are urging Agriculture Committee leaders to prioritize federal support and financial resources for specialty crop mechanization research and development in the 2024 Farm Bill. Salud Carbajal (D-CA) joined House Agriculture Committee leaders Doug LaMalfa (R-CA), Max Miller (R-OH), and Abigail Spanberger (D-VA) to lead 30 members of Congress to author a bipartisan letter sent to Committee Chairman Glenn Thompson (R-PA) and Ranking Member David Scott (D-GA).

Salud Carbajal, Congressman (D-CA)

"Farmworkers in California are using some of the same hand-picking and labor-intensive methods that my dad used when he worked as a farmworker a half-century ago," said Rep. Carbajal. "As someone who worked in the fields in the summers with him, I know the critical difference that investments in agricultural mechanization research and development through this year’s Farm Bill would make. Undertaken in the right way, with guardrails like those included in the bill we introduced last year, breakthroughs in this space will improve the quality of life for our farmworkers, and ensure we have a workforce that is prepared to cultivate the farms of tomorrow."

According to a press release, the same four lawmakers introduced legislation last year to establish a $20 million-a-year research and development grant program exclusively dedicated to specialty crop mechanization and automation projects within the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Government reps are urging Agriculture Committee leaders to prioritize federal support and financial resources for specialty crop mechanization research and development in the 2024 Farm Bill

Congressman LaMalfa also commented.

Doug LaMalfa, Congressman (R-CA)

“California is the nation’s sole producer of many types of specialty crops and grows half of the U.S.-produced fruits, nuts, and vegetables. Our specialty crop industry is a significant part of our total ag economy, food security, and global export. However, the specialty crop industry finds itself at increasing disadvantages from increased input costs, labor shortages, and barriers in utilizing certain Federal programs. Bolstering specialty crop mechanization and automation development is essential to the competitiveness and durability of the industry,” said Congressman LaMalfa.

More information on the Advancing Automation Research and Development in Agriculture Act and comments from other representatives can be found here. And to view the letter in full, click here.

ANUK will continue to report as we learn more about the 2024 Farm Bill.