Farm Bill Push
August 08, 2017
The Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance (SCFBA) met recently to finalize the industry's recommendations for the upcoming Farm Bill. National Potato Council CEO John Keeling is one of three nationwide leaders of the Alliance and was on-hand for the full day of deliberations. "This marks the end of a three-month policy process that will give our industry strong momentum heading into the Farm Bill debate," said Mr. Keeling.
One of the major new items that the Alliance agreed upon was the need for additional resources for specialty crop research. Over the life of the next Farm Bill, it is recommended that an additional $100 million be added to the Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI) to provide the necessary resources to keep the industry competitive. Other recommendations included substantial enhancements to USDA's export promotion programs along with staff resources for both the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and the Foreign Agricultural Service.
The SCFBA is beginning work on its third full Farm Bill. During its existence, the results of this industry-wide coalition include the creation of the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program, the Technical Assistance for Specialty Crops Programs, SCRI, the expansion of the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Snack Program and enhanced pest and disease resources. In total, those programs comprise over $3 billion in investments in the specialty crop industry over the life of the Farm Bill.