USApple is a founding member of the Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance (SCFBA). 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 2024 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:

  • The Specialty Crop Research Initiative – Used to combat pests and disease, develop new rootstocks and develop automation technology.
  • International Trade – The Market Access Program and the Technical Assistance for Specialty Crops.
  • Specialty Crop Block Grants – Targeted to local needs and can be used on a variety of priorities, including research, marketing, food safety and nutrition initiatives.
  • Crop Insurance – 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 the consumption of fresh produce by elementary school students in low-income schools. Commodity purchase programs should be improved, and incentive programs expanded.
  • Buy American – Congress should strengthen and require USDA to enforce the Buy American requirements in USDA school meals programs.
  • Clean Plant Network – Establishes a network of clean plant centers to ensure nurseries can continue to provide safe, virus-free plant materials for orchards.