“Thank you Chairman Davis, and I add my welcome to each of our panelists for being here today. Your willingness to participate in today’s hearing is particularly appreciated given the nearly continuous cycle of planting and harvesting in the specialty crops sector.
“I would also like to welcome our new Freshmen Democratic Members to this subcommittee: Al Lawson from Florida, Jimmy Panetta from California, and Lisa Blunt Rochester from Delaware.
“My objective for this hearing is simple. As we begin formulating the next farm bill, I want to know what farm bill programs are working, what aren’t, and what we as Congress can do to improve your ability as producers to succeed, regardless of your crop or production practices.
“As I read today’s testimony, I am struck by the extraordinary diversity of your businesses in both products, practices, and size. You grow at the level of tens of acres, hundreds of acres, and thousands of acres producing as wide variety of crops as apples, oranges, carrots, bell peppers, lettuce, grapes, and of course, New Mexican chile.
“I am further struck by the fact that you, as specialty crop producers, are on the front lines in delivering fresh, healthy, and wholesome food to America’s and the world’s tables.
“As a mother and a grandmother, I know how important it is to provide my children and granddaughter with nutritious foods. And as a 12th generation New Mexican, I know how difficult it can be for individuals living in rural areas and food deserts, especially Indian Country, to access fresh and healthy foods.
“Our job in Congress is to assist and promote what you do as producers, and I look forward to working with the Chairman, as we write a new farm bill, to provide you with the tools so that you can invest in your businesses, research new technology to improve yields, improve pest resistance and plant health, and find new markets for your crops both domestically internationally.
“I believe this will expand access to the abundant, healthy, and nutritious food contained within the specialty crop and organic sectors for more and more citizens. I look forward to our discussion this afternoon. With that, thank you again, and I yield back.”
Committee Contact: Liz Friedlander, 202-225-1564, email@example.com
Lujan Grisham Contact: Gilbert Gallegos, 202-527-2256, firstname.lastname@example.org
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