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

WASHINGTON, DC - Today, Congressman David Rouzer (R-NC), Congressman David Valadao (R-CA), Congressman Jim Costa (D-CA), and Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin (D-MI) announced the launch of the bipartisan Congressional Specialty Crops Caucus.  

The caucus aims to highlight the issues facing the specialty crop industry and advocate for policies to allow U.S. specialty growers, processors, and partners to succeed by providing American families with a safe, affordable, and nutritious food supply.

“North Carolina produces more than ninety commodities, providing fresh produce and ornamentals to consumers around the world," said Congressman Rouzer.  "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."

“With inflation, competition, and the Farm Bill ahead of us, it is important to have the priorities of specialty crops recognized,” said Lee Kimball, partner and sales director at Somerfield Farms in Wilmington, North Carolina“We appreciate the leadership of Rep. Rouzer and look forward to working with him and the Congressional Specialty Crops Caucus to ensure our priorities are protected and we can continue the important work of helping feed the country.” 

Specialty crops include fruits and tree nuts, vegetables, horticulture, herbs, nursery crops, and other ornamentals such as Christmas trees and floriculture.  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 collaborate on legislation to support specialty crop producers and address issues such as market access, research funding, and sustainability measures.

“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 Costa. This caucus will continue advocating for policies that allow Specialty Crop growers to continue providing American families with safe, healthy foods.”

“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 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.” 

Click here for more information on the Specialty Crops Caucus and to sign up for updates.