Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance Releases 2023 Farm Bill Recommendations

This week the Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance (SCFBA) released its Final Policy Recommendations for the 2023 Farm Bill. The SCFBA is a national collation of over 200 specialty crop organizations representing farmers and shippers who advocate for a common set of priorities in the 2023 Farm Bill. CCM is a Steering Committee member of this organization.  The Recommendation’s core principles include:

  • Healthy Americans: Expanding access to safe, wholesome, healthy and affordable foods that encourage healthy eating habits, overall well-being, and help address national priorities like obesity, heart disease, and food and nutrition insecurity.
  • Competitiveness and Sustainability: a proportional share of farm bill resources and mandatory spending should be allocated to specialty crop priorities.
  • Trade and Foreign Competition: Establishing a competitive playing field for American specialty crop producers includes assisting American producers with unfair foreign competition, promoting American specialty crops in foreign markets and eliminating trade barriers that discriminate against American specialty crop exports.
  • Research and Innovation: A sustained federal investment into research and innovation must be of a meaningful scale to catalyze opportunities for the industry, alleviate existing challenges and propel the U.S. specialty crop industry to a new level of global competitiveness.
  • Natural Resources and Climate: Recognizing the diverse nature and unique challenges involved in specialty crop production enhances the ability of specialty crop producers to participate fully in all USDA conservation programs as well as any initiatives to address global climate change.

The SCFBA also supports the citrus industry in requesting continued funding of $25 million per year for the Emergency Citrus Disease Research Extension (ECDRE) program, which is a competitive grant program aimed at finding a solution to HLB.  CCM, along with our partners in Florida and Texas, secured this important funding for HLB research for the first time in the 2014 Farm Bill as part of the Specialty Crop Research Initiative. The 2018 Farm Bill expanded upon this initial investment by establishing a stand-alone Citrus Trust Fund separate from all other specialty crop research funding and creating the ECDRE and advisory board comprised of citrus growers from the three major citrus producing states.

CCM’s number one priority for the 2023 Farm Bill is to maintain this critical research program and dedicated funding of $25 million per year. The U.S. citrus industry is fortunate to have the support of Congress, and specifically our CA Senators and Representatives, in the fight to stop HLB. This support, however, is not taken for granted. CCM staff is actively working with our partners in Florida and Texas to remind Congress just how important the citrus industry is to communities, local economies, and consumers throughout the country and the world, and why this research is necessary to protect the future of the domestic citrus industry.

We are grateful to have the support of the entire specialty crop industry via the SCFBA in this effort.

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