The Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance has begun foundational work on the 2012 Farm Bill by naming alliance co-chairs and appointing policy working groups. The working groups will develop a framework of policy recommendations for each of the Farm Bill’s titles.
Rep. Collin Peterson (D-Minn.), chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, has said he wants to get started early next year on the Farm Bill and complete it before 2012. FFVA is well represented on the alliance. President Mike Stuart is serving as co-chair, as he did for the 2008 Farm Bill, along with John Keeling of the National Potato Council. Others and their respective working groups are: Kerry Kates, Conservation (Title II); Mike Aerts, Trade (Title III) and Research (Title VII); Stuart, Horticulture and Organic Agriculture (Title X) and miscellaneous titles; and Dan Botts, Pest and Disease Programs (Title X). I am serving on the Communications Committee and the Nutrition (Title IV) and Rural Development (Title VI) working groups.
The alliance worked for more than two years for passage of a 2008 Farm Bill that was balanced and equitable for the country’s specialty crop producers. The bill provided a total of $289 billion over five years for farm and nutrition programs. For the first time, it included mandatory funding of almost $3 billion for specialty crop, pest and disease, nutrition, research, and conservation priorities.
FFVA Annual Report Available
FFVA has summarized its work on these and other challenges facing the specialty crop industry in its 2010 Annual Report, which is available at www.ffva.com/Publications. The report was distributed to FFVA 2010 convention attendees and will be sent out at year’s end to members.
Lessons In Labor
Mark your calendar now for next year’s event presented by the Florida Specialty Crop Foundation. The forum is slated for Sept. 29-30 in Orlando.