House draft farm bill strikes "fresh" from signature program - The Packer

House draft farm bill strikes "fresh" from signature program

07/06/2012 07:00:00 AM
Tom Karst

National Editor Tom KarstStill vacationing in Ohio, but I noticed the House Agriculture Committee issued its draft farm bill proposal late Thursday.

From the press release:


 Some of the highlights include:

    FARRM saves more than $35 billion in mandatory funding.
    FARRM repeals or consolidates more than 100 programs.
    FARRM eliminates direct payments, streamlines and reforms commodity policy that saves taxpayers more than $14 billion.
    FARRM improves program integrity and accountability in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) that saves taxpayers more than $16 billion.
    FARRM consolidates 23 conservation programs into 13, which improves program delivery to producers and saves taxpayers more than $6 billion.
    FARRM provides regulatory relief, including H.R. 872, to mitigate burdens farmers, ranchers, and rural communities face.

The House Agriculture Committee will consider the legislation during a business meeting scheduled for Wednesday, July 11. A summary of the legislation can be found at this link.

 

The 557-page (gulp) "discussion draft" of the House Agriculture farm bill can be found at this link.

 

Of high importance to the fresh produce industry, the House draft farm bill, the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program takes a major hit. Look at this language.

SEC. 4203. FRESH FRUIT AND VEGETABLE PROGRAM.
 Section 19 of the Richard B. Russell National School
 Lunch Act (42 U.S.C. 1769a) is amended—
(1) in the section heading, by striking
‘‘FRESH’’;
(2) in subsection (a), by striking ‘‘fresh’’;
(3) in subsection (b), by striking ‘‘fresh’’; and
(4) in subsection (e), by striking ‘‘fresh’’.

 

So, the "Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program" is fresh in name only  under this language. It is fresh, dried, canned, frozen, and every other process dreamed up by food technologists.

It will be a test of fresh produce industry lobbyists to turn back this attempt to kick fresh to the curb.

More reaction next week, along with coverage from the July 11 business meeting.



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