Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Helps Draw Congressional Attention to Domestic Coffee Production

House Appropriations Committee Highlights Domestic Coffee Industry in Annual Agriculture Budget Bill

 Washington, DC—Today, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) announced that the House Agriculture Appropriations Committee Fiscal Year 2016 bill includes language to support coffee production in the United States. At her request, the Committee has singled out and encouraged the work of the Agricultural Research Services (ARS) and National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) in combatting challenges to coffee production. ARS research is primarily concerned with reducing and eliminating the spread of the Coffee Berry Borer, an invasive species that has immense detrimental effects on coffee bean yields. The Coffee Berry Borer, combined with other environmental factors and increased demand, has created spikes in the price of Hawaiʻi coffee over the past five years.

“I’m proud the Appropriations Committee recognizes the work and challenges that face Hawaiʻi and Puerto Rico coffee farmers and producers, as well as the important research and development being done to preserve this vital domestic industry,” said Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard. “The inclusion of coffee plant health in the committee’s report is an important step to ensuring the viability and success of our local coffee industry for years to come.”

 “I applaud the efforts of Congresswoman Gabbard and the Hawaiʻi delegation for their support of our nation’s domestic coffee industry,” said Chris Manfredi, President of the Hawaiʻi Farm Bureau. “The recognition by Congress of the importance of American grown coffee helps farmers in Hawaiʻi and Puerto Rico carve out an important specialty coffee niche as the brew of choice, not only for discerning coffee drinkers in the U.S., but the world over.”

 On Wednesday, the House Appropriations Committee approved a spending bill for FY2016, which starts in October, and an accompanying report detailing how the funds are to be used. The report states, “Coffee Plant Health – The Committee appreciates ARS and NIFA’s work to address existing and emerging challenges to coffee production in the United States and commends the agency’s work with research partners and coffee grower groups. The Committee encourages ARS, NIFA, and its partners to maintain support for coffee plant health research.”

 The bill was finalized less than 24 hours after the Hawaiʻi Congressional Delegation and the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced the release of $1 million to fight the Coffee Berry Borer. Hawaiʻi and Puerto Rico are the only domestic growers of coffee in the United States.