Farm Bill

With nearly 50 percent of the United States considered farmland, and fruit and vegetable farms occupying 14 produce farms imagemillion acres, everyone – from growers to retailers to consumers – is affected by agriculture policies. It is 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.

In 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 Incentivespecialty crop block grant statistic Program and the Farmers Market Promotion Program. Historically 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.

Now, with the 2014 Farm Bill set to expire in September of 2018 and as the reauthorization process has begun, United Fresh and the Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance have come together once again to come up with a new set of industry wide recommendations for Congress to consider as they begin drafting the 2018 Farm Bill. Programs we are advocating for include: Market Access Program, Tree Assistance Program, Technical Assistance for Specialty Crops, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI) Grants, DoD Fresh Program, Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program, Value-Added Producer Grant Program, Specialty Crop Research Initiative, Specialty Crop Block Grants, Plant Pest and Disease Program, and Crop Insurance Programs. Links for more information on these programs can be found below. For more information on our recommendations and priorities, click here.

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

FarmBill2014InfographicWebreducedsize 2014FarmBillValueCharts-web


United Fresh Farm Bill Issue Brief

Take Action On This Issue!Grassroots Action Network

Make your voice heard! Go to United Fresh’s grassroots website for easy, quick steps you can take to tell Congress to support specialty crops in the 2018 Farm Bill and tell your member to join the Specialty Crop Caucus!

Key Messaging Points

  • Congress should support the Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance Recommendations while approving the 2018 Farm Bill. 
  • Continue support for Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI) for industry-specific research;
  • Support for Pest and disease mitigation protections and programs;
  • Trade – using programs such as the Market Access Program (MAP) and the Technical Assistance for Specialty Crops (TASC) to open foreign markets to specialty crops;
  • Nutrition – enhancing programs such as the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP) to improve children’s access to fresh fruits and vegetables.

Farm Bill By the Numbers

  • Specialty crop production in the U.S. accounts for $66 billion in farm gate vaule and 33% of farm cash receipts for crops. 
  • Nearly 50% of the U.S. is considered farmland with fruit and vegetable farms accounting for 14 million acres. 
  • The 2014 Farm Bill provided a total of $3 billion investments in the specialty crop industry. 
  • A recent study found that for every $1 invested in MAP, there was a return of $238.30 in export gains. 

State Profiles of American Agriculture

Additional Resources

Important Farm Bill Programs: 

Crop Insurance

DoD Fresh Program

Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program

Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive Grants (FINI) 

Market Access Program 

Plant Pest and Disease Program

Specialty Crop Block Grants

Specialty Crop Research Initiative

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

Technical Assistance for Specialty Crops

Tree Assistance Program

Value-Added Producer Grant Program

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.

Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance Recommendations: 

Executive Summary of Priorities

Congressional Testimony:

July 19, 2017 | Sarah Frey, CEO of Frey Farms, LLC, Testimony on Agricultural Guestworker Programs and the Needs of American Agriculture

July 12, 2017 | Gary Wishnatzki, Owner and CEO of Wish Farms, testimony on Technology and Innovation for Specialty Crops in the next Farm Bill

March 9, 2017 | Charles Wingard, Director of Field Operations for Walter p. Rawl & Sons, Inc., Testimony on Specialty Crops in the Next Farm Bill

March 9, 2017 | James Field, Director of Business Development for Frey Farms, LLC, Testimony on Specialty Crops in the Next Farm Bill

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

USDA Information and Other Resources:

USDA 2018 Farm Bill Principles 

USDA Farm Bill Highlights

To learn more about the Farm Bill please contact Robert Guenther at