The Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance is a national coalition of more than 120 organizations representing growers of fruits, vegetables, dried fruit, tree nuts, nursery plants and other products. 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.
Click here for a list of organizations in the Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance.
The Alliance successfully advocated for a 2008 Farm Bill that for the first time made a strong investment in specialty crops. The bill included provisions that would help the U.S. specialty crop industry compete and grow in domestic and global markets. It assisted specialty crop producers by:
- Expanding the USDA Fruit & Vegetable Snack Program to all 50 states. This program develops lifelong healthy eating habits for children through consumption of fruits and vegetables.
- Establishing a specialty crop research initiative to develop and disseminate science-based tools to address the needs of specialty crop producers.
- Increasing funding for state-level specialty crop grants that focus on local, regional and statewide programs to enhance producers’ ability to compete in the marketplace and provide consumers with safe, abundant food.
- Enhancing critical trade assistance and market promotion tools that will grow international markets for specialty crops.
- Investing in prevention and mitigation programs and tools to combat invasive pests and diseases, which cost the U.S. economy billions of dollars per year.
- Facilitating specialty crop producers’ access to and participation in conservation programs.
As Congress begins to debate the next farm bill, the coalition has submitted a comprehensive package of policy and program proposals to the U.S. Senate and House agriculture committees. Given the difficult economic and budget picture, no new programs were suggested; however, the alliance has recommended refining and enhancing some existing programs that were established in the last farm bill.
Programs for a healthier America
Farm Bill programs can help consumers reach USDA’s new dietary guidance and foster a healthier America. Specialty crops – especially fruits and vegetables — play an increasingly important role in the federal government’s dietary guidelines for Americans. The great majority of consumers don’t meet those goals, and that’s particularly true for lower income Americans. Farm bill programs – in areas such as marketing, research and nutrition – can help address this dietary gap while at the same time fighting obesity, diabetes, heart disease and other national health priorities.
No direct payments to specialty crop producers
None of our recommendations contain direct payments, such as price or income supports. Specialty crop producers do not want them – they would distort the specialty crops market, can have trade implications and foster inefficiency. Instead, we ask Congress to thoughtfully consider our recommendations for making the specialty crop industry more competitive and our products more accessible for consumers here and around the world.