Bryan Silbermann, CEO of Produce Marketing Association, today issued the following statement in response to the U.S. Senate’s and U.S. House of Representatives’ passage of the farm bill:
“PMA commends Congress’ passage of the farm bill and applauds their attention to the needs of specialty crops throughout the bill. This success would not have been a reality without the leadership of Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, Senate Agriculture Committee chairwoman, who continued the breakthroughs for specialty crops made in the 2008 farm bill, but in a far more difficult budgetary environment. We also thank the efforts of Sen. Thad Cochran of Mississippi, Senate Agriculture Committee ranking member; Rep. Frank Lucas of Oklahoma, House Agriculture Committee chairman; and Rep. Collin Peterson of Minnesota, House Agriculture Committee ranking member. Furthermore, the Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance also deserves recognition for their advocacy of programs targeted to the needs of produce and other specialty crops.
“The 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.”