From United Fresh, here is a summary of what is in the conference report brings to the specialty crop industry.
Title II – Conservation
EQUIP – Reauthorizes the air quality funding carve-out of $37.5 million of EQIP annually through FY2017
Conservation Compliance – Includes requirements that if a producer has crop insurance for a crop (as defined as “cultivated crops”) it is required to have a conservation plan. Specialty crops and new participants (non-title I crops) will have a phase-in time period to comply. Specialty crop producers who wish to have technical assistance with conservation compliance will have first priority. Finally, $10 million agriculture mitigation program is available.
Title III – Trade
Technical Assistance for Specialty Crops – Reauthorizes TASC at $9 million per year
Market Access Program – Reauthorizes MAP at $200 million per year
Title IV – Nutrition
Farm Bill Nutrition Programs – Reauthorizes provisions under Farm Bill for 5 years
Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program – Maintains Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program authorization and baseline funding at $150 million per year. Creates a one-year evaluation process established by USDA for eligible schools in no-less than five states to offer canned, frozen, and dried, along with fresh fruits and vegetables part of the program. Report from this evaluation is due to Congress by January 1, 2015.
Healthy Incentives Program – $100 million program to establish “incentives grants” for projects that incentivize SNAP participants to buy fruits and vegetables.
Section 32 Purchases -- Minimum Specialty Crop Purchases under Section 32 are maintained and reauthorizes current law
Title VI – Rural Development
Value Added Grants – Mandatory funding at $63 million is included.
Title VII – Research
Specialty Crop Research Initiative – Mandatory funding is set for $80 million per year. For FY2014-2018 $25 million per year will be utilized to address the emergency citrus greening mitigation. Legislative language that addresses increased industry participation and prioritization for SCRI grant awards is included.