Today, the Senate Agriculture Committee voted in support of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, with a vote of 20-1. This legislation represents the start of the Senate process to consider their version of the Farm Bill. The House of Representatives failed to pass a bill in May and is expected to reconsider their version, H.R. 2, the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018, on Thursday, June 21. Following the Senate Agriculture Committee vote on the Farm Bill, United Fresh made the following statement:
“We applaud the Senate Agriculture Committee, and in particular the leadership of Chairman Pat Roberts and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow, for introducing and passing the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018. This legislation reflects their important efforts, along with those of their colleagues on the Senate Agriculture Committee, to reach across the aisle and drive consensus policy to support and strengthen American agriculture and the food industry during a very challenging time for our industry sector.
In particular for the fresh fruit and vegetable industry, the bill continues and enhances key policy priorities including expanding research and trade resources, increasing access to fresh produce through federal nutrition programs, and providing needed policy and funding on pest and disease exclusion and state block grants. Additionally, new programs that help urban agriculture, greenhouse operations, and focus on mechanization research will only further enhance consumers’ access to healthy and affordable fresh fruits and vegetables.
Finally, United Fresh wants to acknowledge the strong effort of the Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance and its 120 member organizations who have spearheaded the efforts since the 2008 Farm Bill to ensure that programs are included which will help enhance the competitiveness of this important segment of agriculture.”
The Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance, is the lead group managing the Farm Bill debate for our industry since the 2008 Farm Bill, United Fresh serves on the leadership team of the Alliance. The Senate is expected to consider the Agriculture Improvement Act on the Senate floor prior to the July 4 congressional work period.