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Congress Sharpens Focus on Specialty Crops with Bipartisan Caucus


Aiming to bolster food security and support producers, the 2024 Congressional Specialty Crops Caucus gathers a diverse group of lawmakers to advocate for vital agricultural interests.

Specialty crops are taking center stage in Congress this year with the establishment of the bipartisan 2024 Congressional Specialty Crops Caucus. The caucus, co-chaired by a mix of Republicans and Democrats—including David Valadao (CA) and David Rouzer (NC) from the Republican side, and Jim Costa (CA) and Elisa Slotkin (MI) from the Democratic side—aims to address the unique challenges faced by specialty crop producers.

Representative Elisa Slotkin, who has a background in national security, emphasizes the strategic importance of specialty crops in ensuring national food security. “Viewing food security through the lens of national security is essential,” Slotkin stated in a recent press call. “The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted severe vulnerabilities in our supply chains, reinforcing the need for self-sufficiency in food production.”

Jim Costa highlighted the caucus’s role in promoting healthy eating and supporting American producers. He pointed out the myriad challenges these producers face, from climate-induced natural disasters to pest invasions and complex market dynamics. “These crops are predominantly perishable, making efficient farm-to-table supply chains crucial for the industry,” Costa explained.

The caucus plans to use its platform to educate lawmakers about legislative and regulatory policies that could benefit the sector, and to spearhead initiatives aimed at increasing support for specialty crops in the upcoming farm bill. This focus is expected to enhance the resilience of the industry and ensure that it continues to thrive in the face of growing environmental and economic challenges.