Today, the United States Senate voted 68 to 32 passing the long-awaited new Farm Bill (the Agricultural Act of 2014) which is a significant advance for the fresh fruit and vegetable industry. Of the 32 senators who voted against it, 23 were Republicans and nine were Democrats. The bill now goes to the White House. President Obama is expected to sign it into law this Friday in Michigan, the home state of Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Debbie Stabenow.
Western Growers worked actively over the last two years to shape this bill which will benefit members and producers in the specialty crop industry. WG President and CEO Tom Nassif serves as a co-chair of the Special Crop Farm Bill Alliance and has said that the investment made in the science and research that increases food safety and the consumption of fresh produce makes the federal government an “invaluable partner in food production.”
The bi-partisan Farm Bill includes an increase in investment of 55 percent over the 2008 Farm Bill funding levels in several produce industry initiatives such as pest and disease prevention, research, state block grants and funds to teach school children about healthy eating and thus increase the number of people in the next generation that eat our products.
“We must commend the leaders in the House and Senate who worked so long and hard to see this effort through,” said Nassif. “We congratulate the chairwoman of the Senate Agricultural Committee Debbie Stabenow and Ranking Member Thad Cochran, and Chairman Frank Lucas of the House Agriculture Committee and Ranking Member Collin Peterson for their stamina and political acumen that made this a bi-partisan effort.”
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