Bryan Silbermann, president and CEO of Produce Marketing Association, today issued the following statement in response to the U.S. Senate’s passage of the 2012 farm bill:
“PMA commends the Senate for their attention to the needs of specialty crops throughout the 2012 farm bill. This success would not have been a reality without the leadership of Senator Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, and chair of the Senate’s Agriculture Committee, who continued the breakthroughs for specialty crops made in the last farm bill, but in a far more difficult budgetary environment. The efforts of the Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance also deserve recognition, once again successfully advocating for the inclusion of programs targeted to the needs of produce and other specialty crops.
“The 2012 farm bill includes increased spending for state block grants to support specialty crops and the plant and disease program known as “10201.” The bill also maintains nutrition programs such as the snack program and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s purchases of fruits and vegetables for school meals. Also included is the reauthorization of the research program designed to target research needed by specialty crops, even attempting to address concerns the coalition has raised to better align that research with industry needs.
“As the 2012 farm bill discussions move to the U.S. House of Representatives, PMA looks forward to continuing to advocate for the priorities of the fruit and vegetable industry.”