House Subcommittee Passes Farm Bill Provisions
Farm bill legislation has seen some progress in the House of Representatives recent. Chairman Dennis Cardoza (D-Calif.) convened the Horticulture and Organic Agriculture Subcommittee to consider the draft of provisions of the farm bill that fall within its jurisdiction. After several amendments and extensive discussion, the subcommittee reported on its draft, which will join the other subcommittees’ sections at the full Agriculture Committee scheduled for later this month.
The draft bill suffers from a lack of resources, something Cardoza himself admitted. Several items of interest to the green industry and many priorities from the larger specialty crop coalition were only “authorized,” which means actual funding, if any, would have to wait for the appropriations process. As the farm debate continues, much of the work will be to secure actual dollars for the American Nursery & Landscape Association and green industry priorities. Nevertheless, as reported out of the subcommittee, the bill does the following:
- Amends the Tree Association Program so that nursery and Christmas trees are eligible for compensation; existing law limits these disaster payments to trees that produce annual crops.
- Shifts from the Department of Homeland Security to U.S. Department of Agriculture the border inspectors tasked with keeping out foreign pests and diseases.
- Authorizes funding for the Clean Plant Network.
- Creates the Threat Identification and Mitigation Program that would task U.S. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service to identify and take action against emerging pest risks.
- Creates a grant program for best management practices development.
ANLA farm bill policy priorities can be viewed at www.anla.org.