WASHINGTON, D.C – The United Fresh Produce Association hailed the long-awaited passage of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (Farm Bill) as the measure crossed the final legislative hurdle when the Senate approved the Farm Bill conference report today by a vote of 68 – 32.
The bill, on which Congress started having hearings in 2010, provides nearly $4 billion in funding for programs that benefit specialty crop production, including fresh produce. The funding amounts and policies encompassed in the bill reflect specialty crop priorities for block grants, research, pest and disease mitigation, nutrition and trade. The federal commitment to specialty crop needs included in the bill is unprecedented and builds on the momentum begun under the 2008 Farm Bill.
“Everybody seems to agree that in the history of Farm Bill reauthorizations, this has been the most challenging and has taken the longest,” said Robert Guenther, United Fresh’s Senior VP for Public Policy. “But even though the overall bill took many unexpected twists and turns, one thing was consistent: strong, bipartisan support in the House and Senate for fresh fruit and vegetable policies. Throughout the long process, Farm Bill programs for fruits and vegetables were maintained or strengthened. This is a clear sign that policymakers recognize the importance of our industry to the nutritional well-being of all Americans and to the overall U.S. economy. We’ll continue to work with lawmakers to ensure that America’s fruit and vegetable providers operate under government policies that allow them to be as innovative as they can be to enhance their competitiveness and ability to meet America’s nutritional needs.” The Farm Bill will now be sent to the President for his expected signature.
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.