United States Committee on Agriculture Chairman GT Thompson (R) of Pennsylvania joined Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González-Colón (NPP, R) of Puerto Rico on the islands to learn of the US territory’s needs related to the 2023 Farm Bill. The Republican members hosted a Farm Bill listening session with a variety of stakeholders, including state officials and producers, and toured farms and research facilities across the main island.
“I thank my friend, Chairman Thompson, for visiting the island and for his leadership leading to the 2023 Farm Bill. Agriculture is critical to Puerto Rico, and this visit provided an opportunity to understand our capabilities and challenges across all agriculture sectors and tie them to this important legislation. He also witnessed how the private sector, government, and other stakeholders support some of my proposals for potential inclusion in the Farm Bill, like the transition of the island from NAP to SNAP program,” said Rep. González-Colón.
“Feedback from producers and consumers is one of the most important processes of drafting a Farm Bill, and I appreciated the opportunity to be in Puerto Rico for this listening session. As I mention at every listening session, each proposal or issue will be evaluated through the lens of fiscal accountability and political viability. I want to thank Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González-Colon and her staff for organizing this trip,” said Chairman Thompson.
Items discussed and shared by local stakeholders included priorities across multiple titles of the bill, including nutrition, research and education, and horticulture.
González-Colón and Chair Thompson traveled to the western region of Puerto Rico, where they toured the Tropical Agricultural Research Service (TARS) farm in the Municipality of Isabela and a coffee plantation in Hacienda Los Eucaliptos in the Municipality of Lares.
They met with TARS personnel and farmers to discuss ongoing work and research for multiple specialty crops found in tropical regions. Other items on the agenda included a meeting with Puerto Rico’s Governor, Pedro Pierluisi (D), a visit to a regional office of the Puerto Rico Department of the Family, and a tour of a coffee roasting facility.
The current Farm Bill expires at the end of the year. The House is expected to continue work on this legislation during the second week of September upon returning from August recess.