On June 10, the U.S. Senate passed its version of the 2013 Farm Bill (Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2013) by a vote of 66-27.
On June 10, the U.S. Senate passed its version of the 2013 Farm Bill (Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2013) by a vote of 66-27. The American Nursery & Landscape Association (ANLA) and OFA – The Association of Horticulture Professionals say they are encouraged by the strong support the bill received from both sides of the aisle.
The debate of the Farm Bill in the U.S. House of Representatives is set to begin the week of June 17, 2013.
The Senate version of the Farm Bill offers increased funding for specialty crop programs:
• Specialty Crop Block Grants funded at $70 million per year (2014-2018)
• Specialty Crop Research Initiative funded at $25 million (FY2014); $30 million (FY2015- 2016); $65 million (FY2017); $50 million (FY2018)
• Coordinated Plant Management Program funded at $60 million (FY2014-2017) and $65 million (FY2018)
ANLA and OFA were joined by national partners and state associations on a letter to U.S. Senators before they passed the Farm Bill that encouraged them to support it and the specialty crop programs contained within. Unlike the traditional crop subsidies and direct payments for commodity crops, the specialty crop provisions support things like crop research, pest and disease management strategies and crop marketing efforts.
These provisions include Specialty Crop Block Grants (SCBG), Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI) and the newly created Coordinated Plant Management Program, which is the result of the merging of two previously independent programs – Section 10201 and the National Clean Plant Network.
“We thank the Senate leadership and the Senate Agriculture Committee for moving on the bill. The law provides opportunities for nursery and floriculture crop growers to expand and protect their businesses, and ensures that our industry remains competitive in the global marketplace,” said Michael Geary, chief executive of ANLA and OFA.
Both associations will be working with U.S. Representatives to see the House version of the Farm Bill through to passage, and continue to support the specialty crop provisions as reported out by the House Agriculture Committee on May 16.