Washington, D.C. – United Fresh Produce Association applauds the signing of the Farm Bill (Agricultural Act of 2014) by President Obama today at a ceremony on the campus of Michigan State University in East Lansing. The event was hosted by Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, chairwoman of the Senate Agriculture Committee. Robert Guenther, United’s senior vice president of public policy, attended the ceremony along with administration officials, lawmakers and other agricultural industry representatives.
Today’s signing ends a three-year effort by United and specialty crop allies to approve a new five-year farm bill, which was passed by the House last week and by the Senate on Tuesday. The Farm Bill 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, and the pest and disease prevention program. The bill also maintains funding for the Market Access Program and the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program, which United helped to spearhead in Congress more than 10 years ago to provide fresh produce snacks in schools.
“The 2014 farm bill is nothing less than a solid win for fresh produce on several fronts, including research, market promotion, pest and disease programs and nutrition initiatives,” said Tom Stenzel, president & CEO of United Fresh. “United appreciates the steady leadership of the Senate Agriculture Committee and the House Agriculture Committee in getting the Farm Bill passed. And our thanks also go to United Fresh members and other industry leaders who’ve walked the halls of Congress, made phone calls, supported candidates and otherwise made their voices heard to their lawmakers.”
“This Farm Bill makes landmark investments in the competitiveness of the produce industry and continues support for increasing access to fresh fruit and vegetables in our nation’s schools,” said Guenther. “It is an honor to be here at the bill’s signing and to participate in this event to mark the importance of American agriculture and our industry.”
For more information about provisions in the 2014 Farm Bill, visit United’s website.
Founded in 1904, the United Fresh Produce Association serves companies at the forefront of the global fresh and fresh-cut produce industry, including growers, shippers, fresh-cut processors, wholesalers, distributors, retailers, foodservice operators, industry suppliers and allied associations. From its headquarters in Washington, D.C. and Western Regional office in Salinas, Calif., United Fresh and its members work year-round to make a difference for the produce industry by driving policies that increase consumption of fresh produce, shaping critical legislative and regulatory action, providing scientific and technical leadership in food safety, quality assurance, nutrition and health, and developing educational programs and business opportunities to assist member companies in growing successful businesses. For more information, visit www.unitedfresh.org or call 202-303-3400.