In particular, the Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI), which provides resources to many critical research projects, was granted only discretionary funding, as compared to as much as $50 million in mandatory annual spending we had won in the 2012 farm bill language.
Because the SCRI funding in the extension bill is “discretionary,” Congress must still appropriate the money for the research programs.
United Fresh is already working in concert with our partners in the Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance to address the most immediate concerns about the farm bill extension, as well as working with the new Congress for passage of a 2013 farm bill.
We’re working to sustain bipartisan support for the many provisions that can contribute to a thriving produce industry and the health of consumers across the U.S.
The next few weeks are critical because Congress will likely hammer out sweeping government spending cuts. Like never before, lawmakers will be looking for ways to shave budgets. Now is the time to support our produce industry on Capitol Hill.
Get engaged and voice your support for our industry with your members of Congress.
The issues for 2013 are already lining up — whether it’s recrafting a new farm bill, finally putting in place real immigration reform and a solid agricultural guest worker program, or helping shape the new food safety rules coming from the Food and Drug Administration.
By standing together and speaking out, let’s work to avert any fiscal cliffs for the produce industry.
Tom Stenzel is president and chief executive officer of the Washington, D.C.-based United Fresh Produce Association.
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