Rep. Carbajal’s Bill to Promote Mechanization Research and Development in Agriculture Endorsed by New Democrat Coalition’s Farm Bill Task Force

Carbajal’s bipartisan legislation is one of 44 bills recommended for inclusion for 2023 Farm Bill

A bill led by Congressman Salud Carbajal (CA-24) to promote mechanization research and development in U.S. agriculture is being recommended for passage by the New Democrat Coalition’s (NDC) Farm Bill Task Force.

The NDC Farm Bill Task Force recently endorsed 44 pieces of legislation for inclusion in the 2023 Farm Bill; including Carbajal’s Advancing Automation Research and Development in Agriculture Act, which was introduced in June with Representatives Doug LaMalfa (CA-01), Max Miller (OH-07), and Abigail Spanberger (VA-07).

"I’m proud that this important legislation received an endorsement from my colleagues in the New Democrat Coalition, and I will continue to work to build support for not just this bill but for all the important provisions that I hope to see included in a 2023 Farm Bill – as well as pushing to ensure this critical farm policy legislation not slip to next year’s agenda,” said Rep. Carbajal.

The bipartisan bill proposes creating a Specialty Crop Mechanization and Automation Research and Development Program within the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to support specialty crop mechanization and automation projects. 

“Growing up, I worked summers with my father as a farmworker, so I understand firsthand the back-breaking work of picking fruits and vegetables in the fields of the Central Coast. Decades later, despite the world around us being completely revolutionized by technological breakthroughs, farmworkers in California's specialty crop fields still are using some of the same hand-picking and labor-intensive methods that my dad and I used," said Rep. Carbajal. "As the son of a farmworker, I know the difference technological improvements could make in modernizing specialty crop growth and harvest. Undertaken in the right way, with guardrails like those included in our bill, breakthroughs in this space will improve the quality of life for our farmworkers, and ensure we have a more sustainable workforce that is prepared to cultivate the farms of tomorrow."

Specifically, the Advancing Automation Research and Development in Agriculture Act:

  • Establishes an industry-derived specialty crop committee that annually consults with USDA, ensuring critical feedback from, and relevance to, the specialty crop industry.
  • Provides $20 million in annual funding ($100 million over a five-year Farm Bill).
  • Prioritizes projects that address the training or retraining of any impacted employees. This includes retraining production-oriented employees to operate and maintain the machinery or systems that result from these projects, ensuring the workforce is ready to operate the farms of tomorrow.
  • Makes clear that eligible proposals and projects must focus on the modification or reduction of labor-intensive tasks in specialty crop growing and harvesting operations.
  • Models aspects of existing USDA grant governance structures that emphasize multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional approaches, allowing for public and private research institutions and companies to partner with industry.

Earlier this year, Rep. Carbajal led a bipartisan push calling for robust funding for agricultural research and innovation in President Biden’s 2024 budget.

Heeding Carbajal’s call, in March the White House proposed a $299 million increase over last year’s funding level, for a total of more than $4 billion proposed for agriculture research and development in Fiscal Year 2024.

Stay Connected

Use the form below to sign up for my newsletter and get the latest news and updates directly to your inbox.

Office Locations