Senators Applauded On Farm Bill Support

The Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance today applauded a letter signed by 32 senators calling for a 2012 Farm Bill that will build on previous specialty crop investments. In the letter to Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and Ranking Member Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), the senators said the specialty crop programs established in the 2008 Farm Bill generated significant benefits for consumers, producers, and farm communities.
The letter notes that investments in the 2008 Farm Bill included “research, invasive pest and disease mitigation, foreign market development, nutrition, and targeted state-level funding for local initiatives. This translated into job creation, trade expansion, infrastructure investment for capacity building, targeted research for new innovations and technology, and increased access for fruits and vegetables in federal nutrition programs.”
The Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance (SCFBA) is a national coalition of more than 120 organizations representing growers of fruits, vegetables, dried fruit, tree nuts, nursery plants, and other products. The alliance was established to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crop agriculture and improve the health of Americans by broadening the scope of U.S. agricultural public policy.
John Keeling, National Potato Council Executive VP and CEO, and SCFBA co-chair, welcomed the support from the bipartisan group. “As Congress sets the nation’s agriculture policy for the next four years, the health of our citizens and the health of our economy are at stake. We need sustained programs that put more fruits and vegetables on Americans’ plates, enhance our industry’s efforts to fight invasive pests and diseases, and help us to market our crops domestically and globally.”
The SCFBA submitted a comprehensive package of policy and program proposals to the U.S. Senate and House agriculture committees. Given the budget constraints facing Congress, no new programs were suggested; however, the alliance recommended refining and enhancing some existing programs that were established in the 2008 Farm Bill.
“In 2008, Congress recognized for the first time the tremendous contributions specialty crops make to U.S. agriculture and the health of all Americans. Since then, these programs have helped develop improved varieties, promote market access, and ensure the safety of our products. At a time when Americans are being called on to eat more fruits and vegetables, specialty crop producers need these resources to meet the demands of an increasingly health conscious population,” said SCFBA co-chair Mike Stuart, president of the Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association.
The specialty crop industry is also urging Congress to pass the 2012 Farm Bill before the current law expires in September. If the current Farm Bill is temporarily extended, several important specialty crop programs, including the Specialty Crop Research Initiative and the Clean Plant Network will lose funding.
“The resources made available in this bill will go far to help develop better ways to grow, distribute and safeguard nutritious food Americans need for good health,” said SCFBA co-chair Tom Nassif, president and CEO of Western Growers. “This is not just a bill for or about farmers. The resources invested contribute to a better public health policy that will positively impact and improve the way Americans eat.”
The SCFBA said it appreciates the leadership of Senator Michael Crapo (R-Idaho) and Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash.) in building support for the letter, the text of which follows.

Dear Chairwoman Stabenow and Ranking Member Roberts:
We are writing to urge you to build on the strong foundation the 2008 Farm Bill created for specialty crop producers across the country. Specialty crops represent approximately one-half of U.S. cash crop receipts and are of great significance to both farmers and consumers. It seems clear that the 2012 Farm Bill is likely to dramatically restructure federal agriculture spending. During consideration of these significant changes to spending we hope that you will actively consider both the needs of specialty crop producers and the market oriented structure of the programs that were a part of the 2008 Farm Bill.
Congress recognized the importance of specialty crops in the 2008 Farm Bill by focusing mandatory resources for specialty crop producers around key policy priorities including research, invasive pest and disease mitigation, foreign market development, nutrition, and targeted state-level funding for local initiatives. This translated into job creation, trade expansion, infrastructure investment for capacity building, targeted research for new innovations and technology, and increased access for fruits and vegetables in federal nutrition programs. It is clear from the successes of the 2008 Farm Bill that government investment in the competitiveness and sustainability of the U.S. specialty crop industry will produce healthy results for all of America, not just farmers.
As the Senate Agriculture Committee continues its deliberations on the 2012 Farm Bill, we urge you to continue all current investments and build on them where possible. These programs have helped drive investment and have enhanced specialty crop producers’ competitiveness throughout America. Most importantly, specialty crops are a critical and growing component of U.S. agriculture, deserving of full and equal consideration as other agricultural sectors in the Farm Bill.
Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-HI
Sen. Michael Bennet, D-CO
Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-NM
Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-CA
Sen. Scott Brown, R-MA
Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-WA
Sen. Thomas Carper, D-DE
Sen. Bob Casey, D-PA
Sen. Susan Collins, R-ME
Sen. Chris Coons, D-DE
Sen. Michael Crapo, R-ID
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-CA
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-NY
Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-HI
Sen. John Kerry, D-MA
Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-NJ
Sen. Carl Levin, D-MI
Sen. Joseph Lieberman, I-CT
Sen. Robert Menendez, D-NJ
Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-OR
Sen. Patty Murray, D-WA
Sen. Bill Nelson, D-FL
Sen. Jack Reed, D-RI
Sen. Jim Risch, R-ID
Sen. Bernard Sanders, I-VT
Sen. Charles Schumer, D-NY
Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-ME
Sen. Mark Udall, D-CO
Sen. Tom Udall, D-NM
Sen. Mark Warner, D-VA
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-RI
Sen. Ron Wyden, D-OR



Leave a Reply

2 comments on “Senators Applauded On Farm Bill Support

  1. Everyone needs to notice the lack of Republican support, if your Senator hasn't signed on it is important to try to get them to do this. Don't allow your representatives to turn this into a political issue.

  2. More welfare. What are we saying with this bill? American farmers are not capable of being successfull without help from the government. Sad.

Featured Stories

All Vegetables Stories >All Fruits Stories >All Nuts Stories >All Citrus Stories >

The Latest

CitrusHarness The Marketing Power Of Video
September 1, 2014
Multimedia platform is an effective and inexpensive marketing tool for you to attract new customers and keep existing ones loyal to your brand. Read More
Citrus Achievement AwardDespite Industry Challenges, Florida Citrus Leader Has …
September 1, 2014
2014 Florida Grower Citrus Achievement Award winner Mike Sparks feels confident in crop sector's ability to regain strength. Read More
Florida Ag ExpoFood Safety Modernization Act Is On The Plate
September 1, 2014
Florida Ag Expo agenda to serve up important features of looming regulations. Read More
CEU SeriesCEU Series: Put Weeds Out To Pasture
September 1, 2014
No matter where they are, plants out of place can be problematic. Read More
TomatoesProduction Reaches An All-Time High For Processing Toma…
August 29, 2014
A record high is predicted for the 2014 processing tomato crop. Read More
CitrusFlorida Department Of Citrus Knocks NPR Piece Over Juic…
August 28, 2014
Agency goes to bat for the industry regarding statement slighting OJ's health benefits. Read More
Disease ControlLate Blight Update Reveals Heightened Activity
August 28, 2014
While several states in the Northeast have confirmed the presence of late blight, the disease has not been reported in North Dakota or Minnesota. Read More
CitrusFlorida Energy Firm Charged Up About Citrus Biomass Pot…
August 28, 2014
Machine called a game-changer when it comes to a cost-effective, efficient way for tree removal and re-purposing. Read More
EquipmentNew Tractors Improve Maneuverability And Operator Contr…
August 28, 2014
The Magnum Rowtrac tractors from Case IH meet growers’ cropping needs through a wide variety of row spacing and belt options.   Read More
NutsCalifornia County Passes Ordinance To Protect Walnut Gr…
August 27, 2014
Verification of ownership needed to complete sales of valuable nuts. Read More
NutsAlmond Growers Hit By Russian Import Limits
August 27, 2014
Growers reflect on changes to export market in light of produce ban. Read More
Farm ManagementLeadership And Management Expert To Speak At California…
August 27, 2014
Daniel Goleman will make presentation at California State University-Fresno. Read More
CitrusNational Scientific Summit On Herbicide Resistant Weeds…
August 27, 2014
Topics to be covered include the economics of proactively managing herbicide resistance, education and outreach efforts, and incentives and regulatory initiatives. Read More
FruitsFlorida Organic Group Dedicated To Serving Growers, Com…
August 27, 2014
Education and development programs are plentiful for interested producers. Read More
VegetablesExperimental Herbicide Technology Blasts Weeds In Rows
August 27, 2014
The technology uses an air compressor to spray corncob grit on both sides of a crop, killing young weeds. Read More
Disease ControlFungal Disease Outbreak Hits Pacific Northwest Vegetabl…
August 27, 2014
An outbreak of blackleg, light leaf spot, and white leaf spot can be significant problems in several vegetable crops.   Read More
CitrusClean Water Conundrum: Ditch The Rule Or Ditch The Myth…
August 26, 2014
Regulation inundation causing a rising tide of confusion for farmers. Read More
BerriesMichigan State University Extension Offers Tips To Prev…
August 26, 2014
Humidity, rainy periods conducive to disease development. Read More