Oct 19, 2023
Specialty Crop Farm Bill, organic group, endorse legislation

The Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance, a national coalition of more than 200 organizations, has endorsed nutrition and organic bills that cover policy priorities outlined in the group’s 2023 Farm Bill recommendations.

The endorsed legislation:

  • The Fresh Produce Procurement Reform Act, introduced by Sen. Sherrod Brown and Reps. David Valadao and Rosa DeLauro, would direct the USDA to implement a fresh produce purchasing program using local and regional supply chains to distribute perishable fruits and vegetables to nutrition-insecure populations.
  • The Continuous Improvement and Accountability in Organic Standards Act, introduced by Reps. Dan Newhouse, Jimmy Panetta, Salud Carbajal, David Valadao and Chellie Pingree, would amend the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 to provide a streamlined process, informed by direct stakeholder input and based on the best available data, to review and revise organic standards implemented by the USDA when necessary.

Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance

The SCFBA is co-chaired by Mike Joyner, president of the Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association; Dave Puglia, president and CEO of Western Growers; Kam Quarles, CEO of the National Potato Council; and Cathy Burns, CEO of the International Fresh Produce Association.

“The U.S. specialty crop industry is crucial to our national economy and the health of our citizens, which is why we are so passionate in our endorsement of policies that strengthen the long-term viability of farmers while driving enormous benefit to the American people,” the co-chairs said in a joint statement. “We appreciate the leadership demonstrated by our U.S. Senate and House champions in introducing smart proposals aimed at addressing nutrition insecurity and bringing stability to the organic sector.”

The SCFBA advocates for the needs of specialty crop growers. The group’s 2023 Farm Bill recommendations can be found here.

The Organic Trade Association (OTA) also applauded the Continuous Improvement and Accountability in Organic Standards Act (CIAO).

“Ensuring continuous improvement for organic is our highest priority in the 2023 Farm Bill, and this legislation goes far to address that objective,” Tom Chapman, OTA CEO and executive director, said in a statement. “CIAO is the result of a broad coalition of farmers, industry, environmental and other organizations working together with Congress to ensure organic continues to be a dynamic opportunity for growth and able to meet the future needs and desires of both producers and consumers.”

The bill requires the USDA to review and revise national organic standards “not less frequently than once every five years” and highlights the continuation of the established process of consultation with the National Organic Standards Board.

“CIAO is an important step forward in recognizing USDA must continue to evolve the standards as new information, practices, and market forces arise,” Peter J. Mihalick, OTA senior director of government affairs, said in the statement. “Organic is a growing and very dynamic industry. and new best practices and opportunities are appearing every day because of investments in research and other adaptions. CIAO allows USDA to carefully consider and solicit input and work to update those standards in a thoughtful and predictable fashion.”

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