United Fresh is the produce industry's leading voice on Capitol Hill on Farm Bill issues, and works closely with key lawmakers to advance this essential legislation.
The United Fresh Produce Association applauds the Agricultural Act of 2014 (commonly known as the Farm Bill) finalized by the House and Senate Farm Bill Conference Committee January 27, 2014, and signed into law by President Obama February 7, 2014.
The Farm Bill conference report includes an overall increase in investment of 55 percent over 2008 Farm Bill funding levels in critical produce industry initiatives and programs, including the State Block Grant Program, Specialty Crops Research Initiative, a new fruit and vegetable incentive grant program for SNAP recipients, the pest and disease prevention program along with maintaining funding in the Market Access Program and the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program.
The documents linked below provide details about key produce industry provisions in the 2014 Farm Bill.
United Fresh members spoke up for specialty crop priorities in the 2013 Farm Bill at an April 24 hearing held by the Subcommittee on Horticulture, Research, Biotechnology and Foreign Agriculture of the House Agriculture Committee. Bill Brim, co-owner of Lewis Taylor Farms, and Sarah Frey-Talley, president and CEO of Frey Farms, both members of United's Government Relations Council and Grower-Shipper Board, outlined the critical importance of preserving funding for research, block grants, pest and disease programs, nutrition initiatives, and international market access programs.
The hearing by the subcommittee was the first Farm Bill hearing of the 113th Congress and an important opportunity to preserve the specialty crop investments made in the 2008 Farm Bill.
Read their testimony here:
Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance
United Fresh also works to advance specialty crop priorities though the Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance, of which United is a founding member. The Alliance is a national coalition of more than 120 organizations representing growers of fruits, vegetables, dried fruit, tree nuts, nursery plants and other products that 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. The Alliance played a key role in securing a commitment to specialty crop programs in the 2008 Farm Bill. For more information about the Alliance's advocacy efforts, please visit www.strongeragriculture.org.
Farm Bills provide USDA the authority to operate programs using provisions specified in the law. For most programs, authorization to operate expires after five years. The current farm law, The Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, expired in September 2012, but was extended to remain in effect until September 2013.
After almost two years of preparation, a year of debate and a Presidential veto override, the Food, Conservation and Energy Act, became law on May 22, 2008. For the first time ever, this bill contained a significant level of funding to address specialty crop needs. The bill provides approximately $3 billion for our industry to address priorities, such as battling pests and disease from entering the U.S. and increasing research, food safety, consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables, access to international markets access and investments in infrastructure. This legislation also makes a strong commitment to improving nutrition and decreasing obesity among children by expanding the USDA Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Snack Program to reach more than one million kids in all 50 states.
Let Congress know that your business depends on the resources made available by the Farm Bill. The bill provides for pest management, marketing, trade, nutrition and research programs that keep our industry competitive.
Make plans to join us September 30 - October 2 for the Washington Public Policy Conference for two days of meetings with key lawmakers. Hundreds of produce industry leaders will gather on Capitol Hill to advocate for policies that support the industry. Don't miss your chance to speak up for your business and to be part of a grassroots movement that delivers a unified, impactful message to lawmakers!