Pictured: John S. Gless (Gless Ranch), Rep. GT Thompson, Alyssa Houtby (CCM), and Jamie Johansen (CA Farm Bureau)
Congressman GT Thompson (R – PA), Ranking Member of the House Agriculture Committee, traveled to California this week to visit with specialty crop producers and learn more about California agriculture and the unique challenges facing the industry here. The Congressman will serve as the Chair of the House Ag Committee if there is a change of leadership in the House of Representatives. He is a strong supporter of important Farm Bill programs including funding for citrus research, crop insurance, and the EQIP grant program.
During his trip, Congressman Thompson visited with CCM Board member John Gless at his ranch near Bakersfield before heading south to the Coachella Valley. Gless was joined by CCM’s Director of Federal Affairs Alyssa Houtby and California Farm Bureau President Jamie Johansen, who farms citrus and olives in Northern California. The group discussed issues affecting the industry such as trade, pesticide regulations, and labor availability and mechanization. Given the Congressman’s role in crafting the next Farm Bill, Gless and Houtby shared about the industry’s efforts to prevent Huanglongbing from spreading to commercial groves and the vital role that research plays in protecting the U.S. citrus crop. The previous two Farm Bills included specific funding of $25 million per year for research to identify solutions to HLB. Citrus Mutual and our partners in Florida and Texas are working together to ensure this funding is maintained in the 2023 Farm Bill and support from committee leaders like Congressman Thompson is critical to our success.
We are grateful to the Congressman for visiting California and for his interest in protecting and supporting the citrus industry and the nation’s specialty crop producers. We also thank John Gless for providing a tour of his ranch and Jamie Johansen and the California Farm Bureau for their partnership in organizing this event.