Specialty Crops Legislation Introduced

August 11, 2006 - 05:49

Last week, U.S. Sens. Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Larry Craig (R-ID) and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) announced their co-sponsorship of the Specialty Crop Competition Act (S.2487). The legislation is designed to support the growing and exporting of specialty crops including nursery plants, fruits and vegetables.

The legislation reportedly would increase the amount of money states receive in specialty crop competitiveness grants and calls for the development of a plan to increase the exports of specialty crops. It would also require that the USDA spend additional money on fruit and vegetable purchases for donations to schools.

“This legislation recognizes that specialty crops are an essential part of our agricultural economy,” Craig said. “However, because production of these commodities is so specialized, the industry continues to be largely underserved.”

Craig also said the bill would be a “launching point for the next Farm Bill to restore [the industry’s] competitiveness in the global marketplace.”

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