The Central Coast is one of our nation’s agricultural powerhouses: growing crops that feed communities from coast to coast.
As a member of the Agriculture Committee, I play a direct role in crafting policy that supports our farmers and farmworkers, their farms, and the agricultural way of life on the Central Coast. Not only do the growers, fishers, ranchers, and farmworkers provide our communities with nutritious foods, but they generate billions in economic activity for our region.
Over 75 types of crops are grown in California’s 24th Congressional District, including strawberries, wine grapes, avocados, cut flowers, and more. As a member of the Biotechnology, Horticulture, and Research Subcommittee I work to ensure these growers have the federal resources they need to thrive. As a member of the General Farm Commodities and Risk Management Subcommittee, I work to ensure major commodities like corn, wheat, and cotton are produced and meet the needs of our country.
I am always looking for creative ways to support local growers. To support California’s cut flower industry, which makes up three quarters of all American grown cut flowers, I led bipartisan legislation to require any flowers on display in the White House, Department of Defense, or State Department be grown domestically.
We must ensure that everyone can afford to put nutritious food on their table every night. As a member of the Nutrition subcommittee, I directly oversee programs that help people cover their food costs, like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), known as CalFresh in California. I will continue to fiercely support this program and others that help feed thousands of Central Coast residents.
I am working in Congress to help come up with solutions to the challenges California farms are facing, like severe drought and labor shortages.
That is why I’m proud to have secured billions in additional funding to address drought and wildfire in our Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act. And that is why I voted in support of the Wildfire Response and Drought Resiliency Act which makes significant investments in innovative drought-proof water infrastructure, including water recycling and desalination projects.
To help address labor shortages, I helped write the Farm Workforce Modernization Act: bipartisan legislation that both farmers and farmworkers have told Congress needs to signed into law as soon as possible. Our bill provides a pathway for earned legal status for existing farmworkers, makes meaningful reforms to the H-2A agricultural guest worker program and creates a first-of-its-kind, merit-based visa program specifically designed for the nation’s agricultural sector.
To further assist with the labor shortage, I secured $500,000 for Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and the California Strawberry Commission to research automation in agriculture. This research will eventually help growers to plant, prune, and harvest their crops more efficiently, easing the demand for labor.
For more information concerning work and views related to agriculture and food, please contact my office.