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AG Notes

Press Release | 115th Congress
House Seal

Peterson Statement at Hearing on Technology & Innovation in Specialty Crops

July 12, 2017

Opening Statement by Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Collin C. Peterson
The Next Farm Bill: Technology & Innovation in Specialty Crops

--As Prepared for Delivery--

“Thank you Mr. Chairman. And thank you to our panel of witnesses for joining us at today’s hearing on technology and innovation in specialty crop production. I’m looking forward to hearing your testimony on the opportunities and challenges in the specialty crop sector and the impact of farm bill programs on your productivity and profitability.

“Since the 2008 Farm Bill, I’ve been particularly interested in the role specialty crop production has in a healthy ag economy and in providing healthy foods to consumers.

“It’s really amazing to see the amount of money you have invested just to produce your crops. While a hundred acres of corn may be worth several hundred thousand dollars, that same number of acres planted in strawberries may be worth several million dollars. I don’t know how you guys do it.

“We’ve tried to address some of these production differences through the farm bill. I’m proud that the 2008 Farm Bill was the first to acknowledge the growing demand for fresh fruits and vegetables, local foods and organic production. I’m also proud that we were able to continue and build on these investments in the 2014 bill. I hope this trend continues in the next farm bill.

“I believe the specialty crop area is in a very unique position. Consumer demand is increasing but natural resources remain fixed and the labor supply is shrinking. It seems to me that the key to being successful will be through the wise use of technology and with an optimum regulatory structure that allows innovation to flourish.

“Again, I’m looking forward to hearing from our witnesses. I thank the Chair and yield back.”