Letters to the Editor

Farm bill renewal must include needs of specialty crop industry

In a race against the clock, the full 2018 Farm Bill conference committee has been deliberating H.R. 2, which will expire at the end of September. The Farm Bill will set the table for America’s nutrition and agricultural policy for the next five years.

Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association is a member of the Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance (SCFBA), a coalition of more than 120 organizations and 350 individual specialty crops across America. The alliance was established to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crop agriculture and improve the health of Americans by broadening the scope of U.S. agricultural public policy.

Specialty crops serve as the backbone of nutritious eating choices in the U.S., including fruits, vegetables, dried fruit, tree nuts, nursery plants and other nutrition staples. They also act as a major economic engine for our nation.

The coalition’s priorities for the 2018 Farm Bill include enhancing nutrition programs that promote specialty crop consumption, full funding of pest and disease programs, expanding agricultural trade opportunities and strengthening public/private research funding.

I urge our lawmakers to ensure those programs receive the support they deserve.

For agriculture and the jobs it creates across the country, it’s critical the Farm Bill Conference Committee negotiates and finalizes a conference report for the 2018 Farm Bill before the current bill expires on Sept. 30, or important programs will cease operation.

Enhancing the Farm Bill’s commitment to the U.S. specialty crop industry will produce a strong return on investment for all of America, not just farmers.

Mike Stuart,

president/CEO,

Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association,

Tallahassee

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