WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 27, 2023) – The Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance (SCFBA), a national coalition of more than 200 specialty crop organizations representing growers of fruits, vegetables, dried fruit, tree nuts, nursery plants and other products, applauded the introduction of two bills this week that would address major priorities laid out in the group’s 2023 Farm Bill recommendations:
- Specialty Crop Mechanization Assistance Act of 2023, introduced by Reps. David Valadao (CA-22), Jim Costa (CA-21), and Doug LaMalfa (CA-1), would establish a new cost-share grant program to help growers purchase newly commercialized mechanization and automation equipment to increase the efficiency of specialty crop production.
- Specialty Crop Domestic Market Promotion and Development Program Act of 2023, introduced by Reps. David Valadao (CA-22), Darren Soto (FL-9), and Doug LaMalfa (CA-1), would establish a new program within USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service, modeled after the successful foreign Market Access Program, to fund the implementation of a domestic market development program specifically for specialty crops.
“We appreciate the work of this bipartisan group of House Members for recognizing the needs of specialty crop growers as we work to improve efficiencies and develop domestic markets for U.S.-grown produce and other specialty crops,” the SCFBA Co-Chairs said in a joint statement. “We look forward to working with Congress to increase the Farm Bill’s investments in the competitiveness and sustainability of the U.S. specialty crop industry, producing a strong return for all Americans.”
The SCFBA was established to advocate for the unique needs of specialty crop growers in the Farm Bill and enhance their overall competitiveness in the face of increasing global competition and regulatory and buyer demands. It is led by Co-Chairs Mike Joyner, President of the Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association; Dave Puglia, President and CEO of Western Growers; and Kam Quarles, CEO of the National Potato Council, with Robert Guenther, Chief Public Policy Officer for International Fresh Produce Association, who serves as secretariat for the Alliance.
Specialty crop production, including fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, nursery and greenhouse commodities, contributes significantly to the U.S economy, accounting for $64.7 billion in farm gate value and 30 percent of farm cash receipts for crops.