GROWER ALLIANCE URGES CONGRESSIONAL SUPPORT FOR SPECIALTY CROP FUNDING
Fruit and vegetable grower organization representatives from around the country converged in Washington, D.C. last week to lobby for $55 million in funding for the Specialty Crop Competitiveness Act (SCCA), which was passed by Congress late last year. The SCCA authorized funding for several industry priorities, including $44 million in specialty crop block grants to states; however, Congress must appropriate dollars for each of the items contained in the bill.
In addition to advocating appropriations for SCCA, the groups also met to discuss initial specialty crop strategies for the next farm bill. It is anticipated that the House Agriculture Committee will conduct field hearings on the bill in late 2005 and into 2006, with action on the bill itself not coming until 2007. The schedule could change, however, depending on how Congress and the administration react to the WTO cotton decision.
Participating in last week's meetings were
the American Mushroom Institute, California Citrus Mutual,
California Grape & Tree Fruit League, FFVA, Florida
Citrus Mutual, Florida Tomato Exchange, Idaho Grower-Shippers
Association, Texas Produce Association, United Fresh Fruit
& Vegetable Association, U.S. Apple Association, and
ALSO IN THIS WEEK'S RAP-UP