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Valadao, Costa, Rouzer, and Slotkin Launch Bipartisan Specialty Crops Caucus

  • Press Release
Representatives David G. Valadao (R-CA), Jim Costa (D-CA), David Rouzer (R-NC), and Elissa Slotkin (D-MI) announced the reestablishment of the bipartisan Congressional Specialty Crops Caucus.

WASHINGTON – Today, Representatives David G. Valadao (R-CA), Jim Costa (D-CA), David Rouzer (R-NC), and Elissa Slotkin (D-MI) announced the reestablishment of the bipartisan Congressional Specialty Crops Caucus. The caucus is dedicated to highlighting the issues facing the specialty crop industry and building support for policies that allow U.S. specialty growers, processors, and partners to prosper by providing American families with safe, affordable, and nutritious foods.

“Specialty crop producers have faced many challenges over the last few years,” said Congressman Valadao. “From supply chain backlogs at our ports, rising input costs, labor shortages, and drought; our producers have continued to supply the world with fresh, nutritious food despite these obstacles. Specialty crops are a cornerstone of California agriculture, and we need to ensure these producers are supported at the federal level. I’m excited to be co-chairing the Specialty Crops Caucus to ensure our specialty crop producers have a seat at the table in Washington.”

“California is the leading producer of specialty crops, with over 400 different crops. Any Farm Bill must include strong, bipartisan support for specialty crops,” said Congressman Costa. “This caucus will continue advocating for policies that allow Specialty Crop growers to continue providing American families with safe, healthy foods.”

Specialty crops include fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture, and nursery crops. Critical to our nation’s food security, diverse agricultural landscape, and economy, specialty crops account for more than one-third of farm gate value, represent 2.2 million jobs across all 50 states, and contributed $120.6 billion in labor income to the American economy last year. The caucus will work to introduce and support legislation that benefits specialty crop producers and address issues such as market access, research funding, and sustainability measures.

“North Carolina produces more than ninety commodities, providing fresh produce and ornamentals to consumers around the world.  The unique challenges faced by the specialty crop industry deserve to be heard when debating farm policy in Congress.  The Specialty Crops Caucus will help enhance this industry’s voice to better ensure these issues can be properly addressed,” said Congressman Rouzer.

“Here in Michigan, specialty crops – from cherries, to asparagus, to beans – are our bread and butter, and the reason that we’re America’s most agriculturally diverse state with reliable access to water,” said Congresswoman Slotkin. “It’s critical that we protect and support the next generation of farmers – including small farmers. That is why I’m joining my colleagues to launch the bipartisan Congressional Specialty Crops Caucus. This is a group that will look out for the farmers that are often lost in the agriculture conversation in Washington, and make sure they’re represented on every page of the Farm Bill.” 

In recent years, Congress has worked on a bipartisan basis to combat unreasonable specialty crop trade barriers, increase access to automation technology, and help producers break into niche American markets. The Specialty Crop Caucus is dedicated to building on this foundation and supporting the interests of specialty crop production.

Specialty crop producers in California are applauding the co-chairs for their leadership in Congress to raise awareness about the significant contributions and unique needs of the industry.

“The establishment of the Congressional Specialty Crop Caucus means we will have allies in Washington who understand our issues and the needs for a strong agriculture economy,” said Jeff Huckaby, the president and CEO of Grimmway in Bakersfield, California. “We are thrilled that Rep. Valadao has stepped up on behalf of specialty crops, and we look forward to working with him to ensure progress for our industry and the agriculture industry.” 

"We are delighted to see the reestablishment of the Congressional Specialty Crop Caucus, highlighting the crucial importance of specialty crops and their significant contribution to our agricultural sector. Almonds, as a premier specialty crop, not only bolster our economy but also enhance the nutritional well-being of people around the globe,” said Aubrey Bettencourt, President & CEO of Almond Alliance. “We express our profound gratitude to Co-chairs Rep. Valadao, Rep. Costa, Rep. Rouzer, and Rep. Slotkin for their steadfast commitment and efforts to champion the causes of specialty crop producers. Their leadership is pivotal in ensuring the sustained prosperity and growth of the specialty crop industry, which in turn supports the wider agricultural community."