10.02.14

Chairwoman Stabenow Announces Major Investment to Strengthen Markets for Fruits and Vegetables

Grant Program Authorized by 2014 Farm Bill to benefit all 50 States, Help Grow Agricultural Economy

U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, Chairwoman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture will invest more than $119 million in grants to help strengthen markets for fruits and vegetables in all 50 states, DC and the territories. The grants will be provided through the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program and the Specialty Crop Research Initiative, both authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill. Specialty crops – which include fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, horticulture, and nursery crops – were first included in the 2008 Farm Bill when Sen. Stabenow authored the first-ever specialty crops title. Under Stabenow’s leadership, the 2014 Farm Bill expanded on the advances made in the 2008 Farm Bill, significantly increasing support for specialty crops to ensure farmers of fruit, vegetable and nursery crops have access to research, pest and disease prevention and marketing resources they need.

“One of my top priorities was making sure the 2014 Farm Bill had major support for the fruits, vegetables and nursery crops grown in Michigan and other parts of the country, which gives families better access to local food options and supports our economy,” Stabenow said. “Today’s announcement is great news for farmers who will have additional tools and resources to help promote and sell their products to consumers, protect their crops from pests and disease, and develop better production practices.”

Stabenow led the effort to increase support for fruit and vegetable growers in the 2014 Farm Bill and was widely praised for ushering in a new kind of Farm Bill, emphasizing the importance of providing consumers with increased access to healthy and locally grown products. Stabenow’s efforts were profiled in a New York Times column earlier this year: 

 

“Fruit and vegetable farmers … now have far greater access. Programs for those crops were increased by 55 percent from the 2008 bill, which expired last year, and block grants for their marketing programs grew exponentially,” The New York Times reported.

 

The grants, administered by USDA, will support more than 850 projects in all 50 states, DC and the territories. More information on the projects can be found by visiting USDA’s website here.

 

For more information about the 2014 Farm Bill, click here.