Statement Re: 2018 Farm Bill Signing
*Note to reporters: USApple President & CEO Jim Bair was a guest at the White House Farm Bill signing ceremony.
Statement by Jim Bair,
President & CEO
U.S. Apple Association
Re: Signing of the 2018 Farm Bill
“The U.S. Apple Association is extremely pleased with today’s presidential signing of the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018. This new Farm Bill is excellent for the U.S. apple industry as it maintains and expands funding for key apple-supported programs. It is a positive step forward for growers as they head into 2019.
“USApple-supported provisions include:
- Maintained funding for federal crop insurance programs, including those that cover apples.
- Continued funding for Specialty Crop Block Grants at $80 million annually.
- A net increase of $25 million in funding for the Specialty Crop Research Initiative. This critical program has been utilized by the apple industry for important projects including efforts to combat pests such as the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug and Spotted Lanternfly.
- Continued funding for important trade promotion programs, including $200 million for the Market Access Program (MAP) and $9 million for the Technical Assistance for Specialty Crops (TASC).
- Support for programs that combat invasive pests and diseases at $75 million annually.
- Preservation of the integrity of the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Snack Program.
- Strengthened “Buy American” provisions for foods purchased for federal feeding programs.
“During the past two years, as a leader in the Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance, USApple worked closely with Congressional leaders to secure continued funding for important apple-related, specialty crop programs. USApple also played an active role to defeat proposed cuts to programs like crop insurance and MAP.
“We appreciate the efforts of Senate Agriculture Chairman Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), Senate Agriculture Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), House Agriculture Chairman Mike Conway (R-Texas) and House Agriculture Ranking Member Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) for getting the Farm Bill over the finish line with strong bi-partisan support.”