February 22, 2023

U.S. House Ag Committee Chair Visits California, WG Shares Farm Bill Priorities

Last week, Rep. Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson (R-PA) visited with farmers and local officials in central and northern California to better understand the industry’s biggest challenges and opportunities in the state. As the current Chairman of the U.S. House Committee on Agriculture, Rep. Thompson will lead the Committee’s efforts to reauthorize the Farm Bill, which will expire this year.

To highlight the particular challenges facing specialty crop farmers, WG Board Secretary Don Cameron, the Vice President and General Manger of Terranova Ranch, gave Rep. Thompson a tour of his operations and discussed water scarcity and conservation efforts. The issue of pesticides and other crucial tools becoming banned, and the need for accelerated research and development, was also raised.

Western Growers subsequently organized an agriculture roundtable in Kingsburg between Mr. Thompson, his staff, and several key representatives of fresh produce and local Farm Bureaus. WG Board Vice Chair Stuart Woolf, President and CEO of Woolf Farming & Processing, led the discussion and many additional issues were raised, including labor, mechanization, crop insurance, and fresh produce promotion within the United States.

What the Farm Bill Means for Fresh Produce

The Farm Bill is the foundational law for nearly all U.S. agriculture and food programs. The typically five-year bill governs many areas of federal support that the fresh produce industry benefits from, including research funding, crop insurance, international market development, and organic certification. With the Farm Bill set to expire this year, Western Growers and its partners have released the Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance’s 2023 Farm Bill Recommendations, which lays out the collective industry’s top priorities and requests to Congress. WG is proactively engaging with our Representatives and Senators to ensure the Farm Bill delivers for our farmers.

Please contact Tracey Chow ([email protected], 202-704-7312) for more information.

Photo: Left to right, back row: Mark Thompson, Fresno County Farm Bureau; Ryan Jacobsen, Fresno County Farm Bureau; Elise Oliver, CA Apple and Blueberry Commissions and others; Chairman Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson (R-PA); Ian LeMay, CA Fresh Fruit Association; Robert Verloop, CA Walnut Commission/Board; Dusty Ference, Kings County Farm Bureau; Jon Zaninovich, CA Table Grape Commission

Left to right, front row: Alyssa Houtby, CA Citrus Mutual; Stuart Woolf; Kathleen Nave, CA Table Grape Commission; Jared Plumlee, CA Citrus Mutual; Matt Watkins, Tulare County Farm Bureau