Opening Statements

Opening Statement: Republican Leader Glenn 'GT' Thompson Full Committee Hearing: 21st Century Food Systems: Controlled Environment Agriculture’s Role in Protecting Domestic Food Supply Chains and Infrastructure

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Washington, July 29, 2021 | comments
Good morning and thank you to our witnesses for making the time to be with us today. I am eager to learn more about your contributions to this sector of our agriculture industry.

As I’ve said before, I hope our committee will move to holding hearings that explore the issues facing production agriculture, provide opportunities for oversight of the 2018 Farm Bill, and receive updates from officials in the Administration, including Secretary Vilsack. A hearing to review the state of the rural economy and our agriculture industry is long overdue, and I appreciate the Chairman’s commitment to holding this hearing with the Secretary following the August work period.

Thanks to innovation in agricultural technologies, American farmers and ranchers are not only conserving resources, but they are doing it while producing more food, feed, and fiber. Productivity relative to resource use for agriculture is up 287% in the United States since the 1940s while total farm inputs remained mostly unchanged.

Our specialty crop producers have also been able to adopt innovative technologies over time to increase yields while decreasing inputs. Examples of these innovations can include hydroponics, aquaponics, aeroponics, and other greenhouse production methods.

While hydroponics and these other methods of production in a controlled environment are not new concepts, there is an increased interest in utilizing these methods to supplement traditional production agriculture to ensure Americans have year-round access to domestic fresh fruits and vegetables and to decrease our dependency on foreign countries to supply those same products.

The diverse panel of experts before us represent all segments of our hydroponic and other controlled environment methods of production, and I think this hearing presents an opportunity to learn more about their work, contributions to agriculture, and where we go from here.

As I said earlier, I believe these innovative production methods are meant to supplement production agriculture, not supplant. It takes all sectors of our agriculture industry working together to ensure the United States can continue to have the safest, most abundant, and most affordable food and fiber supply in the history of the world, and controlled environment agriculture is a piece of that larger puzzle.

I would like to thank our witnesses once again for being here with us. I look forward to hearing your testimony. With that, I yield back.
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