Central Coast Congressman Jimmy Panetta (CA-20) introduced new legislation that will incentivize mechanization and other innovation in specialty crop production. In a press release, Panetta said, “The Specialty Crop Mechanization Prize Challenge Act is an important way to inject innovative federal investments in the central coast of California’s agriculture industry…Research, development, and evaluation of new specialty crop technologies can help farmers, farmworkers, processors, and shippers at all levels of the supply chain.”
The bill language calls for $10,000,000 dollars in available funds and access to Government facilities or a cooperative research and development agreement of some sort. The bill language hopes to encourage private-public partnerships and allows the U.S. Department of Agriculture to accept additional funding from other federal agencies, universities, state/local governments and the private sector. Both the Western Growers Association and California Farm Bureau Federation stated their support for the legislation in the press release.