Specialty crops are a critical component of the overall U.S. agriculture economy. The production of fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, nursery and greenhouse commodities accounts for $66 billion in farm gate value and 33 percent of farm cash receipts for crops.
The Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance’s legislative priorities include enhancing nutrition programs, continued support for the Specialty Crop Block Grant program, combating invasive pests and diseases, and support for trade and research funding. In each case, these measures would assist the specialty crop industry’s ability to compete and grow in domestic and global markets.
Farm Bill Priorities for Conference Committee
- Expanded trade opportunities under Title III that help increase market access including the Market Access Program and Technical Assistance for Specialty Crops.
- Strong research programs under Title VII that enhance focused research on specialty crop priorities including full funding of the Specialty Crop Research Initiative, the Emergency Citrus Disease Research and Development Trust Fund, prioritizing automation and mechanization research, the Agriculture Advanced Research and Development Authority (AGARDA) that focuses on high-risk agriculture and food challenges, and the Urban and Indoor Agriculture Research Program that helps support research of these and other emerging agriculture production.
- Focus on programs that help expand fruit, vegetable and tree nut consumption through federal nutrition programs such as Section 32 purchases, DOD Fresh, Food Insecurity and Nutrition Incentives Program (FINI), Harvest Health Pilot Program and the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program.
- Full funding of pest and disease programs under APHIS and market expansion programs contained through Specialty Crop Block Grants.