U.S.: Agricultural Act of 2014 gains support from specialty crop group

Countries More News Top Stories
U.S.: Agricultural Act of 2014 gains support from specialty crop group

An alliance representing more than 120 U.S. specialty crop organizations has sent a letter to Capitol Hill calling on politicians to pass a conference report for the Agricultural Act of 2014. White House square

The Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance has applauded the report, which includes a 55% overall increase in investment over 2008 Farm Bill funding levels in critical produce industry initiatives and programs.

The extra funding will go toward such projects as the State Block Grant Program, the Specialty Research Initiative, a new fruit and vegetable incentive grant program for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients,  and the pest and disease prevention program.

The report will also keep funding for the Market Access Program and the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program.

"[It is] the most significant government investment ever into the competitiveness of specialty crop producers and industry members, with support for research, pest and disease prevention, state block grants, child nutrition, trade, and more," the Alliance said in a release.

"The Alliance has been steadfast in urging Congress to pass a five-year Farm Bill that continues a strong investment in specialty crop agriculture," added Alliance co-chair Mike Stuart, who is also president of the Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association.

"We appreciate the dedicated efforts of the House and Senate agriculture committee leadership in bringing forward a bill that will put more nutritious produce in schools, provide critical research funding to fight citrus greening and other invasive plant pests and diseases, and help us to expand markets for our crops.

"Along with key reforms, this bill includes programs that will allow farmers to continue to put safe, healthful fruits and vegetables on Americans' tables."

Fellow alliance co-chair and Western Growers Association CEO Tom Nassif, said the Federal Government was an important partner for change.

"The federal government becomes an invaluable partner in food production when it invests in science and research that increases food safety, reduces our dependence on natural resources, increases the consumption of fresh produce and provides healthy, fresh snacks to those children least able to afford them," Nassif said.

Another co-chair, John Keeling who heads up the National Potato Council said his organization was looking forward to the final vote, so that specialty crop producers could get back to what they do best: growing high-quality fruits and vegetables for America and the world.

"After years of effort, America’s fruit and vegetable growers are eager for a farm bill that supports producers, helps families put healthy meals on their tables, and assists local economies in retaining and growing jobs."

Photo: www.shutterstock.com




Subscribe to our newsletter