Leaders of the House Agriculture Committee have received a request from 83 of their colleagues that represent key specialty crop interests. In a letter to Chairman Frank Lucas and Ranking Member Collin Peterson – they ask for full and fair consideration to the research, pest management and trade assistance programs that are vital to the specialty crop industry. Robert Guenther – Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance Secretary – says the letter shows U.S. House leadership that there is strong support for the specialty crop industry and a strong desire to pass the Farm Bill before existing farm policy expires on September 30th. He adds that those signing the letter recognize the value of specialty crops in their districts and for the entire country.
According to Guenther – the letter highlights the contribution specialty crops make to the 44-billion dollar ag trade surplus and the resources the industry needs in order to continue providing safe, healthy product to an increasingly health-conscious consumer base. These resources include the Plant Pest and Disease Management program, the Disaster Prevention Program and the National Clean Plant Network. Research programs such as the Specialty Crop Research Initiative, the National Institute of Food and Agriculture and the Agriculture Research Service are noted as much-needed research programs. The letter also voices support for trade assistance programs including the Market Access Program and Technical Assistance for Specialty Crops.