The bill has been widely praised by produce industry leaders for funding nutrition and research priorities targeted by the specialty crop industry, though some concern has been expressed about the new conservation compliance regulations that are being phased in for specialty crop growers who sign up for federal crop insurance.
Some highlights of the farm bill:
- Technical Assistance for Specialty Crops – $9 million per year;
- Market Access Program – $200 million per year;
- Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program – $150 million per year;
- At least five states will offer canned, frozen, and dried, produce through the fresh fruit and vegetable program with an evaluation due to Congress on Jan. 1, 2015;
- Healthy Incentives Program – $100 million program (over five years) for programs to increase fresh produce purchases by SNAP participants;
- Value-added grants – Mandatory funding at $63 million;
- Specialty Crop Research Initiative – $80 million per year. From 2014-18 $25 million a year goes to fight citrus greening;
- Specialty Crop Block Grants – includes $72.5 million 2014-17 and $85 million in 2018;
- Farmers Market Promotion Program – $30 million per year; and
- Plant Pest and Disease Program – $62.5 million 2014-17 and $75 million in 2018.
Source: United Fresh