WASHINGTON – Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) today announced that $1 billion has been invested across 12,000 projects to support our nation’s specialty crops since she established the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program in the 2008 Farm Bill. Specialty crops include fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, nursery products, and floriculture that support more than 220,000 farms and contribute more than $64 billion to the nation’s economy.
“Today’s announcement is a milestone investment in specialty crops that we should all celebrate,” said Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow. “Our specialty crop producers grow the best fruits, vegetables, flowers and other crops that feed and sustain the world. This investment will ensure that our specialty crop industry, from producers large and small, remains competitive well into the future.”
Prior to 2008, the federal Farm Bill focused on traditional row crops and had no section dedicated to the needs of fruits and vegetables. In 2008, Senator Stabenow authored the first-ever fruits and vegetables section of a Farm Bill to provide support for the specialty crops that are vital to the agriculture economy. Under Senator Stabenow’s leadership, the 2018 Farm Bill reauthorized the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program and provided $85 million per year in mandatory funding. Senator Stabenow continues to leverage her position as Chairwoman of the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee to strengthen support for these crops and make major investments in organic crops and local and regional food systems.