Jul 26, 2023
Bills support specialty crop group’s Farm Bill priorities

The Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance (SCFBA), a national coalition of more than 200 specialty crop organizations representing growers, has endorsed legislation that addresses several key priorities in the 2023 Farm Bill.

Recent bills align with the group’s 2023 Farm Bill priorities:

  • Growing Access to Environmental Sustainability Act — Expands specialty crop grower access to conservation programs. It was introduced by Reps. Jimmy Panetta (D-California), John Duarte (R-California), Yadira Caraveo (D-Colorado), David Rouzer (R-North Carolina), Jim Costa (D-California), Chuck Edwards (R-North Carolina) and Lori Michelle Chavez‐DeRemer (R-Oregon).
  • Specialty Crop Support Act of 2023 — Extends and enhances the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program. It was introduced by Reps. Elissa Slotkin (D-Michigan) and Chavez‐DeRemer.
  • Protecting America’s Orchardists and Nursery Tree Growers Act — Expands the eligibility of tree, bush and vine growers for the Tree Assistance Program and modernizes the program. It was introduced by Reps. Bill Huizenga (R-Michigan) and Panetta.

The SCFBA was established to advocate for the unique needs of specialty crop growers in farm bills and enhance their overall competitiveness in the face of increasing global competition and regulatory and buyer demands, according to a news release. 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. Robert Guenther, chief public policy officer for the International Fresh Produce Association, is secretariat for the alliance.

“Building on critical policy ideas introduced in several marker bills last month, the Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance is pleased to see additional coalition recommendations take shape in the form of real legislative language,” according to a joint statement from the three the SCFBA co‐chairs. “We appreciate our champions in the U.S. House of Representatives for their responsiveness to the needs of growers as we collectively provide American consumers with a safe, abundant supply of healthy produce and other valuable specialty crops.”

Members of the SCFBA grow fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, nursery and greenhouse commodities, accounting for $64.7 billion in farm gate value and 30% of farm cash receipts for crops, according to a news release.

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