The Washington, D.C.-based United Fresh Produce Association released updated state profiles and distributed the information to members of Congress at the Oct. 1-3 Washington Public Policy Conference. The state profiles are available for free online.
For example, the state profile for California shows the state’s fruit, tree nut and berry producers have 40,261 farms and 2.87 million acres, valued at more than $11 billion. More than 3,800 growers of vegetables, potatoes and melons farm 969,000 acres, with a value near $5.4 billion. The state has more than 2,300 produce shippers, wholesalers and other produce business, the United Fresh state profile estimated. Total industry employment for California topped 518,000 full-time jobs, according to the profile.
“The state profiles highlight the impact that the fresh produce industry has on the health and economy of every state in the country,” Robert Guenther, United Fresh senior vice president of public policy, said in a news release. “Last week, Washington Public Policy Conference attendees delivered this data to their senators and representatives to drive home the importance of passing a Farm Bill, and we encourage members to refer to these profiles in their advocacy efforts.”
The state profiles also share the extent of Farm Bill Specialty Crop Block Grants, Women, Infants and Children program funding and funding allotment for the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program, according to the release.
The state profiles also detail the effect of adult and childhood obesity and diabetes in each state, as well as the number of participants in federal feeding programs such as the National School Breakfast and Lunch programs, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as the Food Stamp program, according to the release.