USApple is a founding member of the Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance. The SCFBA successfully advocated for specialty crop programs in the 2008, 2014 and 2018 Farm Bills and is now working to build on those accomplishments in the 2023 Farm Bill. USApple and the SCFBA oppose any attempt to expand the definition of specialty crops beyond that established in the Specialty Crop Competitiveness Act of 2004. 

USApple strongly supports maintaining and expanding key Farm Bill programs, including:

  • Research – The Specialty Crop Research Initiative, which is used to combat pests and disease and develop automation technology.
  • International Trade – The Market Access Program and the Technical Assistance for Specialty Crops.
  • State Block Grants –Specialty Crop Block Grants, targeted to local needs, can be used on a variety of priorities, including marketing, food safety and nutrition initiatives. 
  • Crop Insurance – Federal crop insurance programs including traditional, whole farm and the Tree Assistance Program, provide a critical lifeline for the industry as extreme weather events are becoming commonplace.
  • Nutrition – The Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program has proven successful in increasing consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables by elementary school students in low-income schools. Commodity purchase programs should be improved, and incentive programs expanded.
  • Buy American – Though schools are required to purchase domestic commodities and products, imported products, including apple juice, routinely reach schools. Congress should strengthen and require USDA to enforce the Buy American requirements in USDA school meals programs.
  • Clean Plant Network – Establishing a network of clean plant centers to ensure nurseries can continue to provide safe, virus-free plant materials for orchards.