“I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.”

Those nine words have been derided as the most terrifying words a person — or business — can hear, but recent action in the nation’s capital gives the industry reason for optimism.

The farm bill that passed the Senate in mid-June contains some important funding for key programs.

Research, pest and disease mitigation, market access, feeding programs and specialty crop block grants were all part of the Senate’s legislation.

Of course it’s just a first step — the House may pass a bill out of committee in July, with expected action by the full House by September — but it’s a step in the right direction.

Then again, the more fiscally focused House may look for cuts.

Given the rocky economy and an at times expanded regulatory exuberance in D.C. during the current administration, many business owners have taken a wait-and-see tack on expansion.

The produce business has shared in the pain, although it has been the fortunate beneficiary of the Obama administration’s Let’s Move! and the school salad bar effort aimed at improving child nutrition and fighting obesity.

The Senate’s passage of the farm bill joins recent decisions to allow potatoes in the WIC feeding program and stricter standards under the National Organic Program give the industry a vote of confidence to invest in itself, which will help ensure a healthier economy and citizens as well.