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Agriculture Policy to Support Fresh Produce

With nearly 50 percent of the United States considered farmland, and fruit and vegetable farms occupying 14 million acres, everyone – from growers to retailers to consumers – is affected by agriculture policies, which is why it’s imperative that Congress passes legislation and reauthorizes nutrition and agriculture programs that support growers’ and producers’ ability to provide an abundant, nutritious food supply across the country and around the globe.

produce farms imageIn the 2014 Farm Bill, United Fresh successfully advocated for enactment of the following provisions totaling nearly a $3 billion investment in the 2014 Farm Bill: Market Access Program, Equipment Air Quality Technical Assistance, Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program, Specialty Crop Block Grants, Specialty Crop Research Initiative, Value-Added Grants, Plant Pest and Disease Program, Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive Program and the Farmers Market Promotion Program.

specialty crop block grant statisticHistorically though, federal government policy has generally failed to recognize the importance of specialty crops (including fresh fruits and vegetables) to the agriculture sector and the overall well-being of the country. Seeing the need to ensure that policymakers craft initiatives that properly acknowledge the value and necessity of the specialty crop sector, United Fresh led the effort to join forces with other specialty crop interests, creating the Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance, a national coalition of more than 120 organizations representing growers of fresh fruits and vegetables, dried fruit, tree nuts, nursery plants and other products.

Since the passing of the 2014 Farm Bill, United Fresh and the Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance continue to work with policymakers to ensure that implementation of key Farm Bill provisions meet the best interests of producers.

Learn how the 2014 Farm Bill generates value for the produce industry by viewing the following infographics. Click image to enlarge.

FarmBill2014InfographicWebreducedsize2014FarmBillValueCharts-web

 

State Profiles of American Agriculture

Additional Resources

Application Process for Specialty Crop Research Funds:

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced that over $48 million in funding has been made available through the Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI).  This program seeks to address challenges in areas such as production, distribution and processing, as well as consumer demand and markets.  The focus areas of the program are research in plant breeding, pest management, production efficiency, new innovations and technology and food safety in production and processing.  The funding for projects for 2017 is subject to passage of federal appropriations or a continuing resolution for Fiscal Year 2017.

Congressional Testimony:

Maureen Torrey, Torrey Farms Inc., Testimony Before the House Committee on Agriculture Subcommittee on Biotechnology, Horticulture, and Research (April 27, 2016)

USDA Information:

USDA Farm Bill Highlights

To learn more about the Farm Bill please contact Robert Guenther at rguenther@unitedfresh.org or Julie Manes at jmanes@unitedfresh.org