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.
Sincerely,
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

CucurbitsFight Phytophthora Blight Of Cucurbits
October 25, 2014
Learn how to identify, the survival and spread, as well as management methods for this disease. Read More
Varieties & RootstocksPlaying The Citrus Rootstock Market Has Risks And Rewards
October 24, 2014
Experimental material forcing producers to roll the dice. Read More
GrapesNorthern Grapes Project Receives $2.6 Million USDA Grant
October 24, 2014
Funds will help complete final two years of multistate effort. Read More
VegetablesEnza Zaden Field Day Highlights 25 Vegetable Varieties [Slideshow]
October 24, 2014
Seed breeder Enza Zaden hosted its 2014 variety showcase September 25th at the company’s research station in San Juan Bautista, California, with 250 Read More
Disease ControlWashington Concord Grape Growers Wrestle With Blackleaf
October 23, 2014
Physiological disorder manifested due to unusually hot and sunny summer. Read More
More Vegetables7 Green Bean Varieties Geared For Florida Growers
October 23, 2014
Leading vegetable seed companies highlight several high-performance selections for producers in the Sunshine State. Read More
MarketingTomato Survey Tracks Consumer Trends
October 23, 2014
Results indicate how labeling matters in purchasing decisions. Read More
CitrusFlorida Citrus Growers Get Box Tax Relief
October 23, 2014
Citrus Commission votes to put dollars back in producers’ hands to spur reinvestment. Read More
Farm ManagementBill Gates Uploading Lots Of Florida Farmland
October 22, 2014
Recent acquisition for the Microsoft icon involves more than 4,500 acres for nearly $28 million. Read More
GenNext GrowersRegister Now For The GenNext Growers Webcast
October 22, 2014
In the first installment of the GenNext Webcast Series, you will learn how to engage with lawmakers and ag associations to help shape a better future for your business and for agriculture. Read More

The Latest

CucurbitsFight Phytophthora Blight Of Cucurbits
October 25, 2014
Learn how to identify, the survival and spread, as well as management methods for this disease. Read More
Varieties & RootstocksPlaying The Citrus Rootstock Market Has Risks And Rewar…
October 24, 2014
Experimental material forcing producers to roll the dice. Read More
GrapesNorthern Grapes Project Receives $2.6 Million USDA Gran…
October 24, 2014
Funds will help complete final two years of multistate effort. Read More
VegetablesEnza Zaden Field Day Highlights 25 Vegetable Varieties …
October 24, 2014
Seed breeder Enza Zaden hosted its 2014 variety showcase September 25th at the company’s research station in San Juan Bautista, California, with 250 Read More
Disease ControlWashington Concord Grape Growers Wrestle With Blackleaf
October 23, 2014
Physiological disorder manifested due to unusually hot and sunny summer. Read More
More Vegetables7 Green Bean Varieties Geared For Florida Growers
October 23, 2014
Leading vegetable seed companies highlight several high-performance selections for producers in the Sunshine State. Read More
MarketingTomato Survey Tracks Consumer Trends
October 23, 2014
Results indicate how labeling matters in purchasing decisions. Read More
CitrusFlorida Citrus Growers Get Box Tax Relief
October 23, 2014
Citrus Commission votes to put dollars back in producers’ hands to spur reinvestment. Read More
Farm ManagementBill Gates Uploading Lots Of Florida Farmland
October 22, 2014
Recent acquisition for the Microsoft icon involves more than 4,500 acres for nearly $28 million. Read More
GenNext GrowersRegister Now For The GenNext Growers Webcast
October 22, 2014
In the first installment of the GenNext Webcast Series, you will learn how to engage with lawmakers and ag associations to help shape a better future for your business and for agriculture. Read More
FruitsAnnual Santa Maria Strawberry Meeting Approaching
October 22, 2014
The meeting will focus on IPM practices, weed management, updates on fumigation, and more. Read More
Apples & PearsUSApple’s AppletizeMe Personality Quiz Help Consumers…
October 22, 2014
Award-winning national apple month campaign returns with more featured varieties and informative videos. Read More
Farm ManagementUSDA Awards $18 Million To Stimulate Research And Devel…
October 22, 2014
The grants will provide resources to help small operations create breakthroughs, says USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack. Read More
CitrusEPA Launches Program To Reduce Pesticide Drift
October 22, 2014
The voluntary star-rating program aims to protect people, wildlife and the environment. Read More
CitrusMcCrometer Introduces New Ag Management Mobile App
October 22, 2014
The app displays data on weather, ET, soil moisture, water flow, and more. Read More
Apples & PearsNew York Apple Growers Partner With Grocer To Introduce…
October 22, 2014
First apples of this new variety to hit Wegmans stores as part of a marketing effort. Read More
CitrusAgriculture, Interior Departments Partner To Measure Co…
October 22, 2014
Goal is to provide science-based information for watershed wellness. Read More
Stone FruitIntroducing A Gem Of A Peach For Central Florida
October 22, 2014
The newest variety to come from the UF Stone Fruit Breeding Program is another “gem,” UFGem! This peach variety is Read More