The House Agriculture Committee heard testimony from California growers on the significance of technology and innovation in the production of specialty crops.
Paul Wenger, President of the California Farm Bureau Federation, highlighted the need for continued investment in the needs of specialty crops. “Considering that specialty crop programs receive 1% of the total farm bill funding and 4% of the non-nutrition title funding, it’s vital that increased consideration is given to the most critical needs of specialty crops,” Wenger testified.
Wenger noted that innovation is crucial for continued success as farmers work to navigate increasing laws and regulations on labor, environmental concerns, food safety, and trade. One of the most beneficial advancements available to growers is the improvements to affordable and effective mechanization. “If we don’t aggressively invest in development of new technologies, the consequence will be to lose a large share our nation’s specialty crop production,” stated Wenger.
California has traditionally been a leader in the adoption and implementation of new ag technologies, but it can take many years of development for advanced mechanization tools to become economically viable for large scale production. “We no longer have the luxury to wait decades for similar innovations, significant investment in plant breeding, mechanical engineering, and broadband is required today,” said Wenger.