WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance (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, endorsed nutrition and organic bills last week that cover key policy priorities outlined in the group’s 2023 Farm Bill recommendations:
- Fresh Produce Procurement Reform Act, introduced by Senator Sherrod Brown (OH) and Reps. David Valadao (CA-22) and Rosa DeLauro (CT-03), would direct the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to implement a fresh produce purchasing program utilizing local and regional supply chains to distribute perishable fruits and vegetables to nutrition-insecure populations.
- Continuous Improvement and Accountability in Organic Standards Act, introduced by Reps. Dan Newhouse (WA-4), Jimmy Panetta (CA-19), Salud Carbajal (CA-24), David Valadao (CA-22) and Chellie Pingree (ME-1), would amend the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 to provide a streamlined and predictable process, informed by direct stakeholder input and based on the best available data, to review and revise organic standards implemented by the USDA when necessary.
“The U.S. specialty crop industry is crucial to our national economy and the health of our citizens, which is why we are so passionate in our endorsement of policies that strengthen the long-term viability of farmers while driving enormous benefit to the American people,” the SCFBA co-chairs said in a joint statement. “We appreciate the leadership demonstrated by our U.S. Senate and House champions in introducing smart proposals aimed at addressing nutrition insecurity and bringing stability to the organic sector.”
The SCFBA was established to advocate for the unique needs of specialty crop growers in the Farm Bill and enhance their overall competitiveness in the face of 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; Kam Quarles, CEO of the National Potato Council; and Cathy Burns, CEO of the International Fresh Produce Association.
Specialty crop production, including fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, nursery and greenhouse commodities, contributes significantly to the U.S economy, accounting for $64.7 billion in farm gate value and 30% of farm cash receipts for crops.