Farm Bill Signed by President
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Posted by: AmericanHort Press Release
WASHINGTON, DC – On February 7, President Obama signed the
Agricultural Act of 2014, also known as the Farm Bill.
The five-year Farm Bill, over 900 pages, addresses many
program areas ranging from conservation and nutrition, to crop insurance and
energy production from biomass. The new Farm Bill contains more than $16
billion in cuts and budget savings.
"The new Farm Bill
speaks to our nation’s agricultural priorities and it is encouraging to see
horticulture, including nursery and greenhouse crops, gaining in importance and
support,” said Michael Geary, President and CEO of AmericanHort. "Strengthening
federal funding opportunities for horticulture in research, pest management,
and marketing doesn’t just happen by accident. AmericanHort’s professional
staff and our dedicated members helped drive those conversations in Washington
D.C. and to ensure that our industry’s needs are met.”
For horticulture, which includes fruits, vegetables, nuts,
nursery and floriculture production, and Christmas trees, the programs of
greatest importance have all received substantial increases, totaling more than
$1.1 billion over the next five years. These programs focus on specialty crop
research needs, environmental management, and prevention and response to new
pest and plant disease challenges.
In the recent past, such funds have been essential to our
industry’s response to emerging threats like boxwood blight, impatiens downy
mildew, Phytopthora ramorum, the
cause of sudden oak death, and where we will likely look for support to answer
important science questions on rose rosette disease.
Specialty Crop Block
Specialty Crop Block Grants will now, for the first time, be
available for multi-state coordinated projects, expanding the opportunities for
our state and regional industry association partners to work together on
marketing efforts and other needs, which also benefits garden retailers.
"Promotional campaigns like Plant Something
(www.plant-something.org) help to unite and strengthen all aspects of our
industry, including breeding and growing, distribution, garden retail, and
landscape services,” said AmericanHort senior vice president Craig Regelbrugge.
Research assists our producers in delivering high quality
products to our retailers and marketing programs help consumers better
understand the important economic and environmental benefits our plants and
services mean to them and their communities,” added Regelbrugge.
National Clean Plant
The National Clean Plant Network (NCPN) program is
strengthened with both funding and technical fixes AmericanHort worked to
secure. NCPN has become a cornerstone element of industry efforts to import
clean plant material for trialing and development by our fruit tree and nut
tree growers,” said AmericanHort’s regulatory and legislative director Joe
These growers have significant regulatory and pest
management challenges, from viruses in particular, and the clean plant centers
at Washington State University at Prosser, University of California at Davis,
and Clemson University, are vital to delivering new varieties and cultivars to
help this segment of our industry thrive.
"The new language significantly advances what NCPN will be
capable of and improves its outlook for long-term stability,” added Bischoff.