House passes Farm Bill that includes new funding for Central Coast crops
WASHINGTON, DC – Rep. Sam Farr, D-Carmel, the Ranking Member on the Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee, today voted for the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013, which includes new funding for specialty and organic crops grown on California’s Central Coast. The bill passed the House of Representatives 251-166 and ends a two year impasse on the Farm Bill.
“No piece of legislation is more important to the Central Coast’s economy than the Farm Bill,” said Rep. Farr. “Today’s vote ends years of uncertainty for the agriculture community. More importantly, this Farm Bill recognizes the value of the crops grown here and makes real investments in programs that promote specialty and organic crops.”
While the spending levels for many programs within the Farm Bill were cut, programs that support specialty and organic crops received additional funding under the new bill.
“This Farm Bill constitutes a landmark commitment to the competitiveness of the fruit and vegetable industry, while ensuring continued investment in food safety, the environment and nutrition programs that benefit our nation’s children,” said Robert Guenther, senior vice president for public policy at United Fresh.
Passage of the Farm Bill had been stalled over cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) that feeds millions of Americans. The Republican controlled House passed a $40 billion cut to the program last year. The cut was 10 times greater than the amount the Senate had already reduced SNAP funding. The Senate and the House negotiated that cut down to $9 billion.
“SNAP provides food security for many American families,” said Farr. “While this is not the full funding that many of us wanted; the deal struck this week prevents the House Republicans’ extreme cuts that would gut this vital program.”
The Senate is expected to pass the bill in the coming days. It will then head to the President’s desk for his signature.
Programs important to the Central Coast that will receive new or mandatory funding:
·         Specialty Crop Research Initiative – $800 million, including $25 million for citrus disease research
·         Specialty Crop Block Grants – $290 million
·         Farmers Market Promotion Program – $150 million
·         Plant Pest & Disease Management – $236 million
·         SNAP incentive payments – $100 million
·         Organic Research and Extension Initiative – $100 million in mandatory funding
·         Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program – $100 million in mandatory funding

With more than a decade of community engagement, business advocacy, public relations and government affairs experience, Kristina Chavez Wyatt specializes in building and favorably positioning projects,...