U.S. Specialty Crop Coalition Endorses Legislation Addressing Research, Nutrition And Trade

Published online: Sep 18, 2023 Articles
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Washington, D.C. – The Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance (SCFBA), a national coalition of more than 200 specialty crop organizations representing growers of fruits, vegetables, dried fruit, tree nuts, nursery plants and other products, last week endorsed legislation that would address major priorities tied to research, nutrition and trade laid out in the group’s 2023 Farm Bill recommendations:

  • Specialty Crop Research Act of 2023, introduced by Rep. Elissa Slotkin (MI-07), would increase mandatory funding for the Specialty Crop Research Initiative and IR-4.
  • GusNIP Expansion Act of 2023, introduced by Reps. Rick Crawford (AR-01) and Dan Kildee (MI-08), would enhance and expand the Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program (GusNIP), providing low-income Americans with greater access to fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Expanding Agricultural Exports Act, introduced by Senators Angus King (ME), Joni Ernst (IA), Tina Smith (MN), Susan Collins (ME), and Chuck Grassley (IA) and Reps. Dan Newhouse (WA-04), Jim Costa (CA-21), Tracey Mann (KS-01), Kim Schrier (WA-08), Ashley Hinson (IA-02), Jimmy Panetta (CA-19), Bradley Finstad (MN-01), and Chellie Pingree (ME-01), would double the funding for the Market Access Program to $400 million.

“The Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance has long advocated for investments in the competitiveness and sustainability of the U.S. specialty crop industry to produce a strong return for both farmers and all Americans – it’s foundational to everything we do,” the SCFBA Co-Chairs said in a joint statement. “That’s why we are grateful for those in the U.S. Senate and House who continue to champion policy ideas that will improve access to fruits and vegetables in federal nutrition programs and enhance the long-term competitiveness of the industry.”

The SCFBA was established to advocate for the unique needs of specialty crop growers in the Farm Bill and enhance their overall competitiveness in the face of increasing global competition and regulatory and buyer demands. It is led by Co-Chairs Mike Joyner, President of the Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association; Dave Puglia, President and CEO of Western Growers; and Kam Quarles, CEO of the National Potato Council, with Robert Guenther, Chief Public Policy Officer for International Fresh Produce Association, who serves as secretariat for the Alliance.

Specialty crop production, including fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, nursery and greenhouse commodities, contributes significantly to the U.S economy, accounting for $64.7 billion in farm gate value and 30 percent of farm cash receipts for crops.