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End of Cuban embargo poses US agricultural export opportunities

End of Cuban embargo poses US agricultural export opportunities

Most trades between Cuba and the United States have been frozen for the last fifty years. 1962 saw a strict increase on restrictions for imported and exported produce between both countries. In 2001 very few agricultural trades were allowed to Cuba.

Despite maintaining small trades, the United States lost over a $ 1billion in potential trade a year.  Cuba suffered similarly with over $ 600million in losses. “From my professional point of view, I am very pleased to see it end. Normal trade relations will open the door to opportunities for importers and exporters within the industry,” explains John Vena, an American importer/exporter at John Vena, Inc. “Currently we export some specialty produce items to Puerto Rico. I believe many of these items will find a market with Cuba as trade relations redevelop.”

The end of the embargo will make it infinitely easier for American fruit and vegetable growers to export to Cuba, as well as for Cuban produce to be imported. “Cuba will have the ability to grow products American importers are searching for, especially tropical and ethnic varieties that we currently import from further markets.”

Since Cuba is the largest Caribbean country, exporters are enthusiastic about prospective trade relations. However, which items to be imported may vary, “it will depend on the first companies to invest and develop the logistic infrastructure needed., states Vena, “there should be an opportunity to redevelop the tomato industry which flourished before the embargo took effect.”

Publication date: 12/23/2014
Author: Kayleigh Csaszar
Copyright: www.freshplaza.com


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€ 39 million EU support for the promotion of agricultural products

€ 39 million EU support for the promotion of agricultural products

The European Commission yesterday approved 27 programmes to promote agricultural products in the European Union and in third countries. The total budget of the programmes, the grand majority of which will run for a period of three years, is € 77.4 million of which the EU contributes € 39 million. The selected programmes cover a variety of product categories, such as fresh and processed fruit and vegetables, dairy products, quality products (PDOs, PGIs, TSGsand organic products), flowers, quality meat, as well as, for the first time, sheepmeat.

EU Agriculture Commissioner Dacian Cioloş stated today: “I am pleased to confirm our support for these new promotion programmes. I hope they will boost consumption and sales at this difficult time. In the course of the last 5 years, we have become a net exporter of agri food products, with the value of exports accelerating faster than the volume, as consumers in other parts of the world appreciate the traditions, quality standards and tastes of Europe. These new measures will further enhance that reputation.”

By 15 June 2014, within the information and promotion scheme, the Commission services received 43 proposals for programmes targeting the internal market and third countries as part of the second wave of programme selection for year 2014. After evaluation, 27 programmes were retained for co-financing out of which 21 target the internal market and 6 target third countries. Third countries and regions targeted are: North America, Latin America, Middle East, South-East Asia, Japan, North Africa and Turkey.

Moreover, two of the accepted programmes are so-called multi-programmes, programmes from organisations located in different member states that jointly carry out a promotion campaign. In the context of the recently agreed reform of the promotion policy, this type of promotion campaigns will be even more encouraged.

Publication date: 10/31/2014


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AMHPAC convention looks toward future of Mexican protected agricultural production

Focused upon strengthening and sustaining its thriving industry, the Mexican Association of Protected Horticulture, commonly known by the Spanish acronym AMHPAC, held its seventh annual convention.

More than 330 participants attended the Aug. 28-29 meeting, which was held in San Jose Del Cabo, Mexico, on the Gulf of California about 15 miles northeast of the famous resort town of Cabo San Lucas.

A Sept. 3 press release indicated that convention participants came from five countries, while domestic attendees came from 20 Mexican states.

“Over 100 representatives from 42 produce growing companies under protected schemes were reunited,” with most of these being tomato growers, according to the release. Furthermore, “51 supplier companies took advantage of this setting to promote their inputs and services.”

The opening session was a workshop regarding “Case studies in the daily operation of tomato export.” This highlighted a detailed discussion of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s tomato suspension agreement, including related workings of the Mexican mechanism of operation registration in SAGARPA, the national department of agriculture. Mexico’s Ministry of Economy has an automatic notice of export, which was also detailed.

In the opening general meeting, Juan Ariel Reyes, AMHPAC’s president, stated, “We are focused in making the Mexican protected horticulture industry to become a solid and sustainable guild with international recognition”.

Enrique Julio Zorrilla Fullaondo, general manager of corporate banking for Mexico at Scotiabank, provided an analysis of Mexico’s economic and financial environment.

A long list of speakers also gave important presentations on Aug. 29.

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

AMHPAC convention looks toward future of Mexican protected agricultural production

Focused upon strengthening and sustaining its thriving industry, the Mexican Association of Protected Horticulture, commonly known by the Spanish acronym AMHPAC, held its seventh annual convention.

More than 330 participants attended the Aug. 28-29 meeting, which was held in San Jose Del Cabo, Mexico, on the Gulf of California about 15 miles northeast of the famous resort town of Cabo San Lucas.

A Sept. 3 press release indicated that convention participants came from five countries, while domestic attendees came from 20 Mexican states.

“Over 100 representatives from 42 produce growing companies under protected schemes were reunited,” with most of these being tomato growers, according to the release. Furthermore, “51 supplier companies took advantage of this setting to promote their inputs and services.”

The opening session was a workshop regarding “Case studies in the daily operation of tomato export.” This highlighted a detailed discussion of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s tomato suspension agreement, including related workings of the Mexican mechanism of operation registration in SAGARPA, the national department of agriculture. Mexico’s Ministry of Economy has an automatic notice of export, which was also detailed.

In the opening general meeting, Juan Ariel Reyes, AMHPAC’s president, stated, “We are focused in making the Mexican protected horticulture industry to become a solid and sustainable guild with international recognition”.

Enrique Julio Zorrilla Fullaondo, general manager of corporate banking for Mexico at Scotiabank, provided an analysis of Mexico’s economic and financial environment.

A long list of speakers also gave important presentations on Aug. 29.

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

AU: Ag groups come out in protest against changes to agricultural levies

AU: Ag groups come out in protest against changes to agricultural levies

Agricultural groups have come out swinging in a ferocious public campaign aimed at blocking “political intervention” on changes to agricultural levies.

A dis-allowance motion by Liberal Democrat Senator David Leyonhjelm that aims to reverse increases to the onion, mango and mushroom levies has angered key industry players, including the National Farmers Federation (NFF).

According to the Across Agriculture Group (AAG), which is convened periodically to lobby collectively on issues affecting grower levies, the new Senator’s disallowance motion could potentially destroy Australia’s agricultural levy system.

The AAG was recently convened by the Australian Lot Feeders Association’s Dougal Gordon and involves 17 other groups, including Grain Producers Australia and pork, dairy, rice, cotton and mushroom peak bodies.

They’ve defended the Australian agricultural levy system as being world-leading and accused Senator Leyonhjelm of being driven by an ideological opposition to levies.

At a public protest held in Tasmania on Thursday, industry groups demanded the ALP, Greens and Palmer United Party support agriculture by publicly stating they’ll vote against the dis-allowance motion in the federal Senate on August 26

Tasmanian Senator Jacqui Lambie who firstly argued strongly in support of blocking increases to marketing and research levies for mushrooms now says she’ll vote against a dis-allowance motion moved by Liberal Democrat Senator David Leyonhjelm to stop increases in levies for mushrooms, mangoes and onions.

Ms Lambie attended the rally in Tasmania today.

“It became clear to me after many local phone calls late last night that Tasmanian Primary Industries and rural workers would be better off if the levy increases were allowed to stand,” she said.

Former Onions Australia chairman Brian Bonde is a strong supporter of the levy system.

He said that it underpinned Australia’s agricultural research and development, marketing, plant and animal health systems that had made it one of the leading agricultural producers of the world.

“The onion, mango and mushroom industries have joined in a bid to fight off Liberal Democrat Senator David Leyonhjelm’s motion to disallow the regulations implementing the industry-supported changes to the levies,” Mr Bonde said.

“The motion has been tabled, notwithstanding the industries conducting a rigorous five year process of consultation, investing grower funds and conducting AEC independent ballots.”

Mr Bonde said that the industries welcomed support from The Greens, who had publicly stated their support for the levies system, as well as from Opposition Agriculture Spokesman Joel Fitzgibbon, who said that levies were an important aspect of agricultural industries.

Robert Gray, Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Mango Industry Association, said that the mango levy is essential to the future of the industry. “During the 2012 / 2013 mango season, there was a significant incidence of an issue called Resin Canal Discolouration. While this issue only affects the appearance of a mango it can drastically reduce the price a mango is sold for, hurting growers back pockets. The industry recognised that this was a serious issue, and during the 2013 / 2014 season, used funds from the mango levy to initiate a research project to assess the issue and look at possible causes,” he said.

Mango levies receive widespread support from the industry and are recognised as being vital to the growth and prosperity of the Australian mango industry. Levies fund research and development, biosecurity measures, are used to work toward market access for mango exports, and marketing programs that ensure ongoing demand for the popular fruit.

“The levy system allows our industry to invest in issues that could cause significant damage to our growers if not addressed. The issue of Resin Canal Discolouration is just an example that paints a picture of the need for the levy system. Without the compulsory levy, the industry would have little or no options to deal with issues like this.

“If the Senate vote to disallow the levy is successful, it could put the whole levy system in disarray. The levies in question were passed by a majority of mango growers. The final decision should rest with the growers as they pay the levy and will be most affected by the dis-allowance,” Mr Gray said.

Publication date: 8/21/2014


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Canada: Flooding “worst agricultural event since 1954″

Canada: Flooding “worst agricultural event since 1954″

Growers in one of the most fertile parts of Ontario say recent flood damages is going to cost in the region of $ 1 million, after two dykes broke.

Three farms have been flooded, leading to the ruin of around 190 acres of onions and carrot cultivation.

Farmer Randy Riffert inspected his field from a motorboat, peering at his crop through three metres of water. He says it never occurred to him that he would be sat in a boat in his fields.

“It’s just devastating. I’m at a loss for words,” he said.

Jamie Reaume, the executive director of the Holland Marsh Growers’ Association, said the flood damage is the worst event to affect the area’s agriculture since Hurricane Hazel in 1954.

Source: toronto.ctvnews.com

Publication date: 6/24/2013


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Canada: Flooding “worst agricultural event since 1954″

Canada: Flooding “worst agricultural event since 1954″

Growers in one of the most fertile parts of Ontario say recent flood damages is going to cost in the region of $ 1 million, after two dykes broke.

Three farms have been flooded, leading to the ruin of around 190 acres of onions and carrot cultivation.

Farmer Randy Riffert inspected his field from a motorboat, peering at his crop through three metres of water. He says it never occurred to him that he would be sat in a boat in his fields.

“It’s just devastating. I’m at a loss for words,” he said.

Jamie Reaume, the executive director of the Holland Marsh Growers’ Association, said the flood damage is the worst event to affect the area’s agriculture since Hurricane Hazel in 1954.

Source: toronto.ctvnews.com

Publication date: 6/24/2013


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Drop in global malnutrition depends on agricultural productivity, climate change

Global malnutrition could fall 84 percent by the year 2050 as incomes in developing countries grow — but only if agricultural productivity continues to improve and climate change does not severely damage agriculture, Purdue University researchers say.

“The prevalence and severity of global malnutrition could drop significantly by 2050, particularly in the poorest regions of the world,” said Thomas Hertel, Distinguished Professor of Agricultural Economics. “But if productivity does not grow, global malnutrition will worsen even if incomes increase. Climate change also adds a good deal of uncertainty to these projections.”

Hertel and doctoral student Uris Baldos developed a combination of economic models — one that captures the main drivers of crop supply and demand and another that assesses food security based on caloric consumption — to predict how global food security from 2006 to 2050 could be affected by changes in population, income, bioenergy, agricultural productivity and climate.

According to the models, income growth coupled with projected increases in agricultural productivity could raise more than half a billion people out of extreme hunger by mid-century.

Income is also set to eclipse population as the dominant driver of food security, a “historical first,” said Baldos.

“We expect that the population driver will diminish relative to per capita income in the coming decades, especially in the developing world,” he said.

Growth in income will allow people to increase the amount of food they consume and “upgrade” their diets by adding more meat and processed foods to staples such as crops and starches. The shift toward a diet higher in calories and richer in protein could lift many in hunger-stricken regions such as sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, China and Mongolia above the malnutrition line.

Globally, the volume of food consumed per capita could increase by about 31 percent. In developing regions with strong growth in income and population, consumption could rise by about 56 to 75 percent.

But these projections depend heavily on corresponding increases in agricultural productivity, Hertel said. Productivity is a measure of crop yields relative to the inputs used in producing them such as land, labor and fertilizers. Increased global productivity improved the availability of food over the last 50 years, but this trend must continue between now and 2050 to buttress food security.

“There is a clear link between productivity growth in agriculture and the number of malnourished people,” Hertel said. “Boosting productivity tends to lower food prices, and declines in the cost of food in turn can allow for better nutrition. Income growth alone will not be enough to solve the malnutrition problem.”

Historically, agricultural productivity has been driven by investments in agricultural research and development. The researchers said improvements in food security depend on increasing research spending, especially over the next two decades.

“The decisions we make now about funding for agricultural research will have implications for a number of malnourished people in 2050,” Hertel said. “If agricultural productivity stagnates, there will be far more malnourished people in the future, particularly in regions where chronic hunger is already present.”

The researchers also cautioned that the impacts of a changing climate on crop yields remain uncertain.

Rising temperatures could extend the growing season in northern latitudes, and an increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere could benefit some crops by improving water efficiency. But climate change is complicated, Hertel said.

“Up to 2050, there could be some pluses for agriculture,” he said. “But in the longer run, adverse temperatures will likely become overwhelming, and rising carbon dioxide concentrations won’t help after a certain point. Eventually, you drop off a cliff.”

The models show that climate change is a less influential driver of global food security than income, population and productivity — but it could still pose a significant risk to the nutrition levels of people living in the world’s poorest regions, Baldos said.

“People living in the most hunger-stricken areas will be the most vulnerable to climate change.”

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Purdue University. The original article was written by Natalie van Hoose. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

Agricultural productivity loss a result of soil, crop damage from flooding

The Cache River Basin, which once drained more than 614,100 acres across six southern Illinois counties, has changed substantively since the ancient Ohio River receded. The basin contains a slow-moving, meandering river; fertile soils and productive farmlands; deep sand and gravel deposits; sloughs and uplands; and one of the most unique and diverse natural habitats in Illinois and the nation.

According to a recent University of Illinois study, the region’s agricultural lands dodged a bullet due to the timing of the great flood of April 2011 when the Ohio River approached the record high of 332.2 feet above sea level.

“The floodwaters eventually drained back into the Ohio River and upper Mississippi River ultimately leaving approximately 1,000 acres of agricultural land flooded from a backup in the middle and lower Cache River Valley, which flooded the adjacent forest-covered alluvial soils and the slightly higher cultivated soils,” said U of I researcher Ken Olson.

According to Olson, who has studied the effects of that particular flood extensively, these cultivated soils drained by the middle of June 2011 and were planted to soybeans. The floodwaters left a thin silt and clay deposition on the agricultural lands and crop residue when they receded. These coatings included significant amounts of soil organic carbon, microbes, and pathogens. After the coatings dried, they were incorporated into the topsoil layer of the alluvial soils using tillage equipment.

“Because the flooding occurred during the non-growing season for corn and soybeans, the mixing in of sediment into the topsoil prior to planting resulted in little significant loss of soil productivity, little soybean damage, or yield reduction on lands outside the levees along the Mississippi, Cache, and Ohio rivers,” Olson said.

As a result of the record Ohio River flood level, floodwaters passed north through the Post Creek cut-off, then west through the 2002 Karnak breach and into the middle Cache River valley to the Diversion to Mississippi River, which was already above flood stage so the floodwaters continued west. In late April, the Ohio River floodwaters then started to flood the towns of Olive Branch and Miller City, the Horseshoe Lake area, and surrounding agricultural lands. On May 2, 2011, the Len Small levee on the Mississippi River failed and resulted in the flooding of an additional 30,000 acres of Illinois public and private lands.

Illinois agricultural statistics recorded the harvest of 4,500 fewer acres of corn and 6,500 fewer acres of soybeans in Alexander County in 2011. Soybean production was 1,200,000 bushels in 2010 but dropped to 865,000 bushels in 2011 due to flooding from both the Ohio and Mississippi rivers and  crop and soil damage. The floodwaters also scoured lands in some places and deposited sand in other locations.

Olson cautioned that, had winter wheat been planted outside the levees in the fall of 2010, the wheat crop would have drowned. “Illinois farmers are aware of the flooding potential, especially in the winter and early spring, so they don’t plant winter wheat on unprotected bottomlands,” he said. “Consequently, there was no crop loss outside the levees in April and May of 2011. Local floodwater in the lower Cache River Valley, south of the Mississippi River Diversion and Dike, could not flow back into the Ohio River. It was blocked by the Cache River levee on the south side and by the closed gate at the Ohio River levee. Instead, water backed up and flooded forested and agricultural lands along the lower Cache River and north of the Cache River levee,” Olson said.

Olson said that the damage to the land could have been much worse. “Land use changes, diversion ditches and levees, loss of wetlands and flood-holding capacity, internal channelization of the Cache River and tributaries, and an ever-changing climate have altered the hydrology of the valley, redistributed soil from fields and ditch banks into the river, and transported tons of sediment during flooding events into both the Ohio and Mississippi rivers,” Olson said.

As the 2011 Ohio River floodwater reclaimed its ancient floodway, Olson says that the extent of these hydrologic changes and their social, economic, and environmental impacts have become more apparent. “The Great Flood of 2011 lends urgency to the reevaluation and implementation of the Cache River Watershed Resource Plan completed in 1995,” Olson said.

He cited nine resource concerns that were identified: erosion, open dumping, private property rights, water quality, continuation of government farm conservation programs, Post Creek Cutoff stream bank erosion, open flow on the Cache River, dissemination of accurate and timely information throughout the watershed, and the impacts of wildlife on farming and vice versa.

“Most of these concerns still need to be addressed,” Olson said. “Since that plan was created, there have been additional compromises/breaches that need to be repaired.  As the repair and rebuilding of the valley infrastructure is undertaken, there will need to be a significant investment of human and financial resources to reduce the impacts of future catastrophic events.”

“The 2011 Ohio River flooding of the Cache River Valley in southern Illinois,” which was co-authored by Kenneth R. Olson and Lois Wright Morton, was published in a 2014 issue of the Journal of Soil and Water Conservation and can be found online at http://www.jswconline.org/content/69/1/5A.full.pdf+html.

 “Impacts of 2011 Len Small levee breach on private and public Illinois lands,” co-authored by Kenneth R. Olson and Lois Wright Morton, was published in a 2013 issue of the Journal of Soil and Water Conservation and can be accessed online at http://www.jswconline.org/content/68/4/89A.full.pdf+html.

Partial funding for this research was provided by the Iowa Agriculture and Home Economics Experiment Station, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Iowa State University. Additional funding support came from National Great Rivers Research and Education Center, Regional Research, Project No. 15-372 and in cooperation with North-Central Regional Project No. NCERA-3 Soil Survey; and published with funding support from the Director of the Illinois Office of Research, ACES, University of Illinois.

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

US: Bonduelle named Agricultural Business of the Year

TGF-FruitImageUS: Bonduelle named Agricultural Business of the YearHeadquartered in France, Bonduelle is a worldwide market leader in prepared vegetables. The recent addition to Western New York has been named the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce Agricultural Business of the Year.

“We are proud to be recognized by the community,” Byron Facility Manager Jim Newcomb said. “Our company is pleased with the local grower base, the skill of the employees and the opportunity to market in the U.S.”

Bonduelle purchased two New York plants in 2012 from the former Allen food processing facilities in Bergen and Oakfield, along with a plant in Brockport. They retained all of the existing full-time staff and employ nearly 800 people in the United States, 400 of whom are full-time workers. The Bergen plant deals with peas, green beans, sweet corn and carrots, while Oakfield processes green, lima and wax beans, along with butternut squash.

Bonduelle’s operations are supplied by local growers who are part of more than 130,000 acres contracted by the company, and its team of experts ensure thorough control over every step in the food processing chain, from seeding to packaging.

“We are currently at about 80-percent capacity, which is up from the 65- to 70-percent the plant ran in the past, but we plan to increase capacity even more, as well as introduce new crops,” Newcomb said.

Source: thebatavian.com

Publication date: 2/21/2014

 

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New Jersey agricultural interests meet for combined conventions

ATLANTIC CITY, NJ — Agricultural interests across the Garden State gathered the first week in February for the 2014 New Jersey Agricultural Convention & Trade Show and the New Jersey State Agricultural Convention.

This was the third year that the annual State Agricultural Convention co-located with the annual conventions of the Vegetable Growers Association of New Jersey and the New Jersey Blueberry Association. NJconventionOfficers630At the trade show Tuesday, Feb. 4, were two officers of the Vegetable Growers Association of New Jersey: Joseph Marino, president, and Joseph Maugeri, vice president. (Photo by Gordon M. Hochberg)This year also represented the first time that those groups were joined by the Garden State Wine Growers Association, the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station of Rutgers University and the New Jersey Grain & Forage Association.

This year’s combined event was taking place Feb. 4-6 at the Trump Taj Mahal, here.

The State Board of Agriculture held an open meeting Tuesday afternoon, Feb. 4, chaired by Robert A. Swanekamp Sr., president of that board.

One of the highlights for the Vegetable Growers Association of New Jersey took place later that evening when the association’s annual auction raised about $ 3,770, according to Joseph Maugeri, the association’s vice president. All proceeds went to the Coach Wags Memorial Foundation, which was founded in 2010 and whose sole mission is to help raise money and awareness for children battling cancer.

Another highlight came Wednesday morning, Feb. 5, when New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher delivered the annual State of the State of Agriculture address, who opened his remarks by stating, “2013 was, in many respects, a very good year for New Jersey agriculture.”

A number of awards were also set to be presented during the course of the combined event.

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

New Jersey agricultural interests meet for combined conventions

ATLANTIC CITY, NJ — Agricultural interests across the Garden State gathered the first week in February for the 2014 New Jersey Agricultural Convention & Trade Show and the New Jersey State Agricultural Convention.

This was the third year that the annual State Agricultural Convention co-located with the annual conventions of the Vegetable Growers Association of New Jersey and the New Jersey Blueberry Association. NJconventionOfficers630At the trade show Tuesday, Feb. 4, were two officers of the Vegetable Growers Association of New Jersey: Joseph Marino, president, and Joseph Maugeri, vice president. (Photo by Gordon M. Hochberg)This year also represented the first time that those groups were joined by the Garden State Wine Growers Association, the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station of Rutgers University and the New Jersey Grain & Forage Association.

This year’s combined event was taking place Feb. 4-6 at the Trump Taj Mahal, here.

The State Board of Agriculture held an open meeting Tuesday afternoon, Feb. 4, chaired by Robert A. Swanekamp Sr., president of that board.

One of the highlights for the Vegetable Growers Association of New Jersey took place later that evening when the association’s annual auction raised about $ 3,770, according to Joseph Maugeri, the association’s vice president. All proceeds went to the Coach Wags Memorial Foundation, which was founded in 2010 and whose sole mission is to help raise money and awareness for children battling cancer.

Another highlight came Wednesday morning, Feb. 5, when New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher delivered the annual State of the State of Agriculture address, who opened his remarks by stating, “2013 was, in many respects, a very good year for New Jersey agriculture.”

A number of awards were also set to be presented during the course of the combined event.

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

Speciality crop farm bill alliance supports 2014 agricultural act

Speciality crop farm bill alliance supports 2014 agricultural act

In a letter to Capitol Hill, The Speciality Crop Farm Bill Alliance (the Alliance) encouraged the House of Representatives and the Senate to pass the conference report for the Agricultural Act of 2014. The Alliance represents more than 120 speciality crop organizations from across the country.

The Alliance applauded the conference report and leadership of the House and Senate Agriculture Committee as, “The most significant government investment ever into the competitiveness of speciality crop producers and industry members, with support for research, pest and disease prevention, state block grants, child nutrition, trade, and more.”  

The Farm Bill conference report includes an overall increase in investment of 55 percent over 2008 Farm Bill funding levels in critical produce industry initiatives and programs, including the State Block Grant Program, speciality Research Initiative, a new fruit and vegetable incentive grant program for SNAP recipients, the pest and disease prevention program along with maintaining funding in the Market Access Program and the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program.

“The Alliance has been steadfast in urging Congress to pass a five-year Farm Bill that continues a strong investment in speciality crop agriculture,” said Alliance Co-Chair Mike Stuart, president of the Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association. “We appreciate the dedicated efforts of the House and Senate agriculture committee leadership in bringing forward a bill that will put more nutritious produce in schools, provide critical research funding to fight citrus greening and other invasive plant pests and diseases, and help us to expand markets for our crops. Along with key reforms, this bill includes programs that will allow farmers to continue to put safe, healthful fruits and vegetables on Americans’ tables.”

Alliance Co-Chair John Keeling, executive vice president & CEO of National Potato Council, agrees. “After years of effort, America’s fruit and vegetable growers are eager for a farm bill that supports producers, helps families put healthy meals on their tables, and assists local economies in retaining and growing jobs. We look forward to this final vote so that speciality crop producers can get back to what they do best: growing high-quality fruits and vegetables for America and the world,” said Keeling.

Alliance Co-Chair Tom Nassif, CEO & president of Western Growers Association explains that the federal government is an important partner for change. “The federal government becomes an invaluable partner in food production when it invests in science and research that increases food safety, reduces our dependence on natural resources, increases the consumption of fresh produce and provides healthy, fresh snacks to those children least able to afford them,” said Nassif.

The Agriculture Act of 2014 will be brought before the House of Representatives today for a final vote. Then later this week, the Senate will also bring the Farm Bill up for a final vote before sending it to the President for his signature.

For more information, visit www.strongeragriculture.org.

 
 

Publication date: 1/29/2014


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