As part of the letter, the alliance commends the work of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees as both of these critical legislative endeavors build on the strategic funding and policy direction the alliance has pursued in previous Farm Bills. These include initiatives and programs related to market access and expansion, production research, combating invasive pest and disease, increasing consumption of fruits, vegetables, and tree nuts, promotional tools, and infrastructure investment.
As the bill now goes to conference, the alliance supports the following priorities contained in each of the bills:
• Expanding trade opportunities under Title III that help increase market access including the Market Access Program and Technical Assistance for Specialty Crops.
• Strong research programs under Title VII that enhance focused research on specialty crop priorities including full funding of the Specialty Crop Research Initiative, the Emergency Citrus Disease Research & Development Trust Fund, prioritizing automation and mechanization research, the Agriculture Advanced Research and Development Authority (AGARDA) that focuses on high-risk agriculture and food challenges, and the Urban and Indoor Agriculture Research Program that helps support research of these and other emerging agriculture production.
• Focusing programs that help expand fruit, vegetable and tree nut consumption through federal nutrition programs such as Section 32 purchases, DOD Fresh, Food Insecurity and Nutrition Incentives Program (FINI), Harvest Health Pilot Program, and the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program.
• Full funding of pest and disease programs under APHIS and market expansion programs contained through Specialty Crop Block Grants.
On behalf of the 120 specialty crop organizations and 350 individual specialty crops across America, the alliance encourages the Farm Bill Conference Committee to negotiate and finalize a conference report for the 2018 Farm Bill before the current law expires in September.
Here is the link to SCFBA letter to conferees.
The Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance 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. For more information, visit http://www.farmbillalliance.org.