SCFBA Co-Chair Discusses Support for Recent Legislation

Web AdminFarm Bill, Legislative

By Clint Thompson

The Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance (SCFBA) applauds recent legislation that addresses multiple priorities in the upcoming Farm Bill.

Kam Quarles, CEO of the National Potato Council and co-chair of the SCFBA

Kam Quarles, CEO of the National Potato Council and co-chair of the SCFBA, discussed the provisions that highlight various needs of the specialty crop industry. These include producers’ access to conservation programs, the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program and the Tree Assistance Program.

“The Farm Bill Alliance is endorsing several of what they call marker bills, as we get ready for what is likely to be mark-ups in both the House and Senate Agriculture Committees in September of the new Farm Bill. These marker bills support various provisions that the Farm Bill Alliance is recommending to Congress,” Quarles said. “These three bills, it’s not going to be the end of the process. We anticipate other marker bills will be coming out in the future and that will inform the leaders of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees as they start writing the new Farm Bill.”

specialty crop farm bill

The three pieces of legislation include:

  • Growing Access to Environmental Sustainability Act, introduced by Reps. Jimmy Panetta (CA-19), John Duarte (CA-13), Yadira Caraveo (CO-8), David Rouzer (NC-07), Jim Costa (CA-21), Chuck Edwards (NC-11) and Lori Michelle Chavez-DeRemer (OR-5), which expands specialty crop grower access to conservation programs.
  • Specialty Crop Support Act of 2023, introduced by Reps. Elissa Slotkin (MI-7) and Lori Chavez-DeRemer (OR-5), which extends and enhances the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program. 

“These offices have been very open with us about, what works in the Farm Bill? What needs to be improved? They’ve taken that advice and turned it into legislation. We really need to go out as an industry, all of the specialty crop community and say, these leaders may not be representing a state that I produce in, but they sure have my interest at heart. We need to support their goals and objectives as they sit down to write the new Farm Bill,” Quarles said.

The SCFBA, a national coalition of more than 200 specialty crop organizations representing growers of fruits, vegetables, dried fruit, tree nuts, nursery plants and other products, advocates for the unique needs of specialty crop growers in the Farm Bill and enhance their overall competitiveness amid increasing global competition and regulatory and buyer demands.

It is led by Co-Chairs Mike Joyner, president of the Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association; Dave Puglia, president and CEO of Western Growers; and Kam Quarles, CEO of the National Potato Council, with Robert Guenther, chief public policy officer for International Fresh Produce Association, who serves as secretariat for the Alliance.