Specialty Crops Industry Group Applauds Senate Farm Bill Approach

Specialty Crops Industry Group Applauds Senate Farm Bill Approach

The Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance (SCFBA), an organization representing more than 120 specialty crop organizations across the U.S., released a statement Monday lauding the efforts of U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee members, particularly Chairman Pat Roberts and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow, following the committee’s introduction of the Farm Bill.

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Senate 2018 Farm Bill, the Agriculture Improvement Act, “clearly reflects the growing importance of the specialty crop industry in American agriculture. The Alliance is particularly pleased to see the inclusion of a new program for citrus producers, increased funds for nutrition programs, as well as the extension of many of the specialty crop provisions that were included in the 2014 Farm Bill.”

Those provisions, which include one for hemp, include:

  • Specialty Crop Block Grants ($85 million/year)
  • Specialty Crop Research Initiative ($80 million/year)
  • Trade Programs including Market Access Program ($200 million/year) and Technical Assistance for Specialty Crops Program ($9 million/year)
  • Pest and Disease Programs ($75 million/year) and National Clean Plant Network ($5 million/year)
  • Food Insecurity and Nutrition Incentive Program (FINI) (Increased to $250 million over five years)
  • Emergency Citrus Disease Research and Development Trust Fund ($125 million over five years)

The SCFBA, a national coalition representing growers of fruits, vegetables, dried fruit, tree nuts, nursery plants and other products, further stated: “The Alliance is grateful for the inclusion of these programs in the Senate legislation. These funding commitments demonstrate that the Senate recognizes the value of these programs and their tremendous importance to the specialty crop industry and consumers. The Alliance also appreciates the collaboration from the Senate Agriculture Committee members that took place to develop such a strong, bipartisan bill. We will continue to work with industry allies in Congress to ensure the programs original mission of promoting specialty crops is sustained in the 2018 Farm Bill.”