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 $64.7 billion in farm gate value and 30 percent of farm cash receipts for crops.
The SCFBA’s 2023 Farm Bill recommendations represent the most comprehensive set of ideas from the coalition to date, including 109 specific recommendations covering eight Farm Bill titles.
The recommendations prioritize a set of core principles:
- Healthy Americans: Expanding access and availability to safe, wholesome, healthy and affordable foods, as well as trees, flowers and plants, will encourage lifelong healthy eating habits, mental and physical well-being, and help address national priorities such as obesity, heart disease, and food and nutrition insecurity.
- Competitiveness and Sustainability: In recognition of its significance to American agriculture, the American food supply, and the communities it supports across the United States, a proportional share of Farm Bill resources and mandatory spending should be allocated to specialty crop priorities.
- Trade and Foreign Competition: Establishing a competitive playing field for American specialty crop producers includes assisting American producers with unfair foreign competition, promoting American specialty crops in foreign markets and eliminating trade barriers that discriminate against American specialty crop exports.
- Research and Innovation: A sustained federal investment into research and innovation must be of a meaningful scale to catalyze opportunities for the industry, alleviate existing challenges and propel the U.S. specialty crop industry to a new level of global competitiveness.
- Natural Resources and Climate: Recognizing the diverse nature and unique challenges involved in specialty crop production enhances the ability of specialty crop producers to participate fully in all USDA conservation programs as well as any initiatives to address global climate change.