The Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance, a 200-member coalition which is Co-Chaired by Western Growers President and CEO Dave Puglia alongside National Potato Council CEO Kam Quarles and Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association President Mike Joyner, has sent a policy statement to Congressional leaders to announce the group’s stance on what exactly can be defined as a specialty crop.
“Proposals are being discussed that would expand the definition of specialty crop beyond its commonly understood meaning,” the letter states. “There are few issues more impactful to our sector of the ag economy than what it means to be a specialty crop. That definition determines eligibility to participate in Farm Bill programs established by Congress exclusively for specialty crops.”
The letter is addressed to Sen. Debbie Stabenow, Chairwoman of the Committee of Agriculture, Nutrition & Forestry; Sen. John Boozman, Ranking Member of the Committee of Agriculture, Nutrition & Forestry; Rep. David Scott, Chairman of the Committee on Agriculture; and Rep. G.T. Thompson, Ranking Member of the Committee on Agriculture.
In the policy statement attached to the letter, a specialty crop is laid out by the terms of the Specialty Crop Competitiveness Act of 2004, which defines them as “fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits and nursery crops (including floriculture.)” The SCFBA opposes any attempt to expand the definition beyond those terms; recent proposals have pushed to expand the definition of specialty crops to include shellfish, hemp, decorative stone and niche grains like wild rice.