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News Release

California Department of Food and Agriculture

Media Contacts: Steve Lyle (CDFA), 916-654-0462 ,

California Department of Food and Agriculture
Release #24-021
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SACRAMENTO, February 8, 2024 - The California State Board of Food and Agriculture will discuss opportunities to increase the competitiveness of specialty crop growers at its upcoming meeting on Tuesday, February 13, 2024. The meeting will be held from 10:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Tulare County Cooperative Extension Office, 4437-B S. Laspina St. – Auditorium, Tulare, CA 93274.

Last November, the USDA announced a Specialty Crop Competitiveness Initiative and is currently seeking input from stakeholders on opportunities to improve production and processing practices as well as enhance marketing opportunities. Input will help to inform USDA programs that serve the specialty crop industry, aid in the evaluation of existing programs and apprise on current and future challenges faced by the industry. 

USDA Under Secretary of Agriculture for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Jenny Lester Moffitt will be in attendance and provide official remarks. 

Public comments on the Specialty Crop Competitiveness Initiative are welcomed.

The meeting is also available via Zoom at:
Webinar ID: 845 6668 5459
Passcode: Board2024!
(Phone Access Passcode: 9137249414)
(Simultaneous Spanish interpretation is available via the Zoom application)
“The USDA is taking significant steps to invest in the nation’s agricultural sector to improve opportunities and livelihoods for farmers, ranchers and farmworkers,” said CDFA Secretary Karen Ross. “As the nation’s leading agriculture state, California has strong potential to leverage the Specialty Crop Competitiveness Initiative to further ongoing innovation, sustainability and climate action on our working lands.”

Invited speakers include: USDA Under Secretary Jenny Lester Moffitt; Melissa Frank, The Wonderful Company; Daniel Hartwig, California Fresh Fruit Association; Ian LeMay, California Table Grape Commission; Kelly Damewood, CCOF; Harold McClarty, Western Growers; Dennis Nuxoll, Western Growers; Héctor Reider, Community Alliance with Family Farms (CAFF); Natalie Caples, Central California Food Bank and other invited speakers.
“I’m looking forward to attending the World Ag Expo and hosting the Board meeting at the largest agricultural event in the state,” said President Don Cameron, California State Board of Food and Agriculture. “It is important not only to hear from farmers and ranchers attending the event, but also see the technology and equipment that is driving the future of California’s agricultural production forward.”

The California State Board of Food and Agriculture advises the governor and CDFA secretary on agricultural issues and consumer needs. The Board conducts forums that bring together local, state and federal government officials; agricultural representatives; and citizens to discuss current issues and concerns to California agriculture.
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California Department of Food and Agriculture Office of Public Affairs
1220 N St., Ste. 214, Sacramento, CA 95814