He said the Specialty Crop Research Initiative needs mandatory funding in the next farm bill, because the current extension of the 2008 farm bill left it unfunded.
Although labor issues are not addressed in the farm bill, Brim said the importance of immigration reform can’t be overstated.
“If Congress does not solve our immigration and farm labor situation you won’t have to worry about a Specialty Crop title in the farm bill in the future,” he said.
Sarah Frey-Talley, president and chief executive officer of Frey Farms, Keenes, Ill. — also a member of the United Fresh government relations council and its grower shipper board — echoed remarks on the special crop industry’s farm bill priorities. She also said labor is a dominant issue.
“At a time when 47 million Americans rely on government support for nutrition, it is incomprehensible that in several states growers have been forced to walk away from abundant fields and destroy millions of dollars worth of fresh fruits and vegetables simply because they could not gain access to an adequate workforce,” she said.