WASHINGTON, April 27, 2012 – According to the United Fresh Produce Association, the Senate Agriculture Committee’s 2012 Farm Bill “answers the call over the last year to continue to build on the investments made in the 2008 Farm Bill.”
The Senate Agriculture Committee voted 16-5 to pass the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2012. The effort to reauthorize the 2012 Farm Bill, which is set to expire on September 30, continues as the bill next goes to the Senate floor for full consideration.
“While this is just the ‘first inning’ of a long and difficult Farm Bill process, it is extremely important that the Senate Agriculture Committee has confirmed what our members have been saying for quite a long time: investments in fruit and vegetable producers translate into a healthy industry – from field to table – while creating job opportunities and improved nutrition for consumers,” said senior vice president of public policy for United Fresh Robert Guenther.
The Farm Bill proposal includes the following fruit and vegetable programs:
-Funding of $150 million annually for the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable program
-Annual funding at $50 million per year for DoD Fresh program to provide fresh fruits and vegetables to schools and service institutions
-Investment of $70 million annually for the Specialty Crop Block Grant program
-The Specialty Crop Research Initiative was funded at $25 million per year ramping up to $50 million by 2017
-Increased funding of $60 million in 2013 up to $65 million 2017 for pest and disease management programs
-The Market Access Program ($200 million per year) and Technical Assistance for Specialty Crops ($9 million per year) were fully funded
-Hunger-Free Communities Grant Program for fruit and vegetable SNAP incentives was funded at $100 million over 5 years
-Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program was funded at $100 million over 5 years
-Section 32 specialty crop purchases funded at $406 million per year in mandatory purchases
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