Use specialty crop grants for promotion fund - The Packer

Use specialty crop grants for promotion fund

06/08/2012 09:55:00 AM
Tom Karst

In other words, a certain percentage of the Specialty Crop Block Grants granted to states would automatically be used to establish a national pool of funding to promote specialty crop market promotion and nutrition education.

I like that idea, even if it has no chance to be a part of this farm bill.

Reserving a part of the funds for the Specialty Crop Block Grants — say 10% of the total — for generic promotion would create a viable promotion program that would have sufficient money to make a credible effect in the market.

The funds from the block grant program should be matched with assessments on the industry to create a feeling of shared investment by the trade.

The time will eventually be right for this idea. If not 2012, then let the next farm bill in 2017 be the vehicle for a federally funded national generic promotion plan for fruits and vegetables.


Speaking of promotion orders, do you remember the USDA-approved promotion plan for Christmas trees that was nixed amid much disinformation about the “Christmas tree tax” late last year?

I recently talked with an Oregon Christmas tree farmer who is anxious for the Obama administration to proceed with the promotion order.

Unfortunately for that grower, I would say that outcome is not likely. Obama’s presidential advisers aren’t likely to allow him to get dinged again as a Grinch on the same issue. The Christmas tree promotion plan will be in limbo until after the election, and perhaps beyond.

What's your take? Leave a comment and tell us your opinion.

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Tom Nassif    
Irvine, CA 92614  |  June, 08, 2012 at 11:24 AM

It is difficult to encourage the consumption of more fresh produce when environmentalists, food advocacy groups, et al are promoting myths that our fresh fruits and vegetables are dangerous to consume and to the environment. We don't care whether consumers prefer trandiitonal or organic produce, as long as they are increasing their consumption of the "best medicine in the world," and teaching their children better nutrition.

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