Tallahassee, Fla. – The Defending Domestic Produce Production Act was reintroduced in the U.S. House and U.S. Senate, which would help seasonal produce and specialty crop growers fight unfair trade practices by nations including Mexico. The bill would ensure U.S. trade law allows seasonal agriculture producers the ability to ask federal regulators to investigate unfair foreign trade and seek relief. Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried applauded the bill’s reintroduction as an important measure for Florida’s farmers.
The legislation, previously introduced in the 115th and 116th Congresses, has earned the co-sponsorship of Florida’s entire bipartisan congressional delegation, as well as members of Congress from Georgia and Michigan, and is supported by agricultural organizations including the Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association, Florida Farm Bureau Federation, Florida Strawberry Growers Association, Florida Blueberry Growers Association, Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association, Georgia Farm Bureau, Michigan Farm Bureau, and South Carolina Farm Bureau.
“Seasonal produce growers in Florida and around the nation have for too long dealt with unfair trade practices that threaten their businesses, their families’ futures, and our country’s domestic food supply. These growers have long needed meaningful solutions that will help them compete on a level playing field,” said Commissioner Nikki Fried. “I thank the bipartisan, bicameral multi-state congressional delegation for today re-introducing powerful legislation that will give our state’s and nation’s farmers access to the tools they deserve.”
The members of Congress who are original co-sponsors of the bill include Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Rick Scott (R-FL); Reps. Vern Buchanan (R-FL), Al Lawson (D-FL), Kat Cammack (R-FL), Bill Posey (R-FL), Michael Waltz (R-FL), Charlie Crist (D-FL), María Salazar (R-FL), Matt Gaetz (R-FL), Scott Franklin (R-FL), Frederica Wilson (D-FL), Neal Dunn (R-FL), Darren Soto (D-FL), Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), John Rutherford (R-FL), Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), Brian Mast (R-FL), Dan Webster (R-FL), Val Demings (D-FL), Stephanie Murphy (D-FL), Lois Frankel (D-FL), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), Carlos Giménez (R-FL), Ted Deutch (D-FL), Kathy Castor (D-FL), Greg Steube (R-FL), Byron Donalds (R-FL), Austin Scott (R-GA), Rick Allen (R-GA), Buddy Carter (R-GA), Bill Huizenga (R-MI), Fred Upton (R-MI), Lisa McClain (R-MI), and Jack Bergman (R-MI).
Background: Florida is one of the nation’s leading producers of fresh, seasonal fruit and vegetables, but Florida specialty crop producers have suffered up to $3.7 billion in losses from unfair trade. Since taking office, Commissioner Fried has been a leading voice seeking remedies to unfair foreign trade. Fried has testified numerous times before the U.S. Trade Representative, the U.S. International Trade Commission, and the U.S. Department of Commerce regarding distorting trade policies by Mexico and other importing nations. She led the opposition to USMCA’s failure to address the dire situation for produce growers; as the USMCA came into force, she released a report highlighting billions in Florida farm losses from unfair trade. Commissioner Fried has visited Washington D.C. numerous times to request Congress include provisions to protect seasonal producers, and was the nation’s only Agriculture Commissioner to vote against a resolution supporting the USMCA.