The agriculture industry across Chester and Berks counties employs over 7,000 of our community members and represents a key component of our economy. In fact, our community is home to the “Mushroom Capital of the World” – Kennett Square! And even as the national number of farms decreases, our district has seen increases. That’s why we welcomed former Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue to Chester County for a tour of a fifth-generation mushroom farm and led a panel discussion with farmers and local stakeholders.
I understand that agricultural producers have unique needs compared to other industries, even more so during the COVID-19 pandemic. Because of this, I prioritized hearing from farmers in PA-06 and held two separate roundtables at the beginning of the pandemic to hear from specialty crop and livestock producers. These roundtables allowed me to hear their specific needs and bring them to Washington as I fought for robust assistance for our farming community. Inspired by our dialogue, I was proud to vote for the CARES Act, which included direct funding for farmers, over $23.6 billion of which has already been paid to farmers across the nation.
While I remain focused on COVID-19, I also continue to work on other district priorities. In 2019, I led our PA delegation to call on former USDA Secretary Perdue to provide increased funding for another epidemic – the Spotted Lanternfly. He heard our request and we were able to secure an additional $4 million to research and combat this invasive species. I will continue to address this pest by working with the new USDA Secretary – Tom Vilsack – on a bipartisan basis.
To be sure, there are many challenges facing our agriculture industry. I have prioritized finding solutions for our community so our farmers and our workforce can thrive.
I will continue to listen to producers and engage with businesses owners and workers to address trade policy concerns, labor needs, licensing delays, and more. If you’d like to see coverage of my agriculture advocacy around our district, check out the links below.