Comprised of more than 200 specialty crop organizations, the Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance (SCFBA) has highlighted areas of importance for the next farm bill. The alliance representing producers of fruits, vegetables, nuts, nursery plants, and other products noted five principles to consider in the development of the 2023 Farm Bill. In its statement of principles, SCFBA outlined health, competitiveness, trade, research, and natural resources and climate as central concepts as the alliance develops official priorities for the farm bill.
“In the months ahead, specialty crop producers will continue to advocate for support under a common set of goals and intend to soon share recommendations to Congress,” SCFBA co-chairs Mike Joyner, Dave Puglia, Kam Quarles, and Robert Guenther said in a press release. “We continue to be encouraged by the support for our growers and look forward to working with industry leaders and policymakers to encourage access to broader resources for the specialty crop industry.”
The overall specialty crop industry accounts for $64.7 billion in farm gate value and 30 percent of farm cash receipts for crops. SCFBA points out that investments in the competitiveness and sustainability of the industry serve multiple purposes. Fostering a robust structure of support around the diverse industry benefits not only farmers but also American consumers. SCFBA also raises the issue of trade and foreign competition as being an important consideration. Addressing unfair foreign competition, promoting American crops in international markets, and eliminating trade barriers are identified as key priorities for the industry.
Natural resources and issues of climate were also noted as core principles for SCFBA. The alliance suggests adjusting eligibility requirements for conservation programs to allow for better access by specialty crop producers. Along with that, continued support of research and innovation will be essential in achieving long-term sustainability. Federal investment into scientific breakthroughs, technological innovation, and data-enabled decision-making will ensure the industry is able to adapt to new and existing challenges.