Buchanan Seeks Protections For Seasonal Agriculture

Todays News

Image courtesy IFAS.

Farmers producing seasonal crops can’t seek the same protections from unfair practices as those selling produce year-round. But U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Longboat Key, said Congress can level the playing field. 

He filed legislation in the House to protect Florida growers and allow them to file grievances against Mexico’s trade practices.

“Illegal seasonal dumping and unfair Mexican trade practices are crippling Florida’s fruit and vegetable growers,” Buchanan said. “It’s time to level the playing field and protect hardworking Florida farmers and our vital produce industry.”

He filed bipartisan legislation in the House with U.S. Rep. Darren Soto, D-Kissimmee. Meanwhile, Sens. Marco Rubio and Rick Scott, both Republicans, will carry a companion bill in the Senate.

Notably, Buchanan serves on the House Ways and Means Committee. While he recently lost a race for chair, he remains the most senior member on the panel that oversees trade policy for the U.S.

If the Defending Domestic Produce Production Act becomes law, it will allow seasonal fruit and vegetable growers to petition the federal government and get relief from unabated foreign imports through the U.S. Department of Commerce and the U.S. International Trade Commission.

“As Florida growers face significant economic losses, it is crucial for us to stand with them and work to find solutions,” Soto said. “I’m proud to work with Congressman Buchanan on this legislation to help our farmers get relief.”

Buchanan notably served as a House liaison to the Trump administration during negotiations of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada agreement. He praised the deal at the time but also promised to pursue further protection for specialty crop growers. 

Since 2000, there has been a 580% increase in produce imports from Mexico into the U.S. In Florida, that has created an estimated $4 billion annual economic loss, with seasonal growers bearing a hit of between $1.31 billion and $2.63 billion each year.

“Volumes of unfairly priced produce imported from foreign suppliers continue to soar at an alarming rate, putting extreme pressure on Florida growers of fresh fruits and vegetables and forcing many out of business. Solutions like those presented in The Defending Domestic Produce Production Act will combat the flood of produce imports entering the U.S. market, helping to level the playing field for Florida growers and ensure a strong domestic food supply,” said Mike Joyner, president of the Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association.

“We appreciate the continued leadership of Congressman Buchanan, as well as the entire Florida congressional delegation, on this important issue and look forward to continuing our work together to identify desperately needed trade mechanisms.”

 

Image courtesy IFAS.

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