Congress Sends Farm Bill To President Obama, Who Expects To Sign It Friday, February 7

President Obama is scheduled to sign the long-awaited Farm Bill on the Michigan State University campus on February 7.
President Obama is scheduled to sign the long-awaited Farm Bill on the Michigan State University campus on February 7.

Millions of dollars in additional funding for floriculture and nursery crops became a reality on February 4 when the Senate passed a new five-year Farm Bill. The House passed the measure on Jan. 29, and the president is expected to sign it on Friday, in East Lansing, Mich., on the Michigan State University campus.

The bill provides increased funding for research on pest and disease prevention and mitigation, as well as grants to fund marketing programs for flowers and plants. In addition, the bill continues the Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI) designed to address broad research challenges in the specialty crop industry, including flowers and plants.

SAF, AmericanHort and more than 120 other members of the Specialty Crops Farm Bill Alliance lobbied aggressively for the bill. SAF members took the issue to Capitol Hill during SAF’s 2013 Congressional Action Days, and advocacy letter-writing by SAF members over a three-year period had a significant impact on the outcome.

“SAF is extremely pleased that Congress has passed a new Farm Bill,” says SAF Senior Director of Government Relations Lin Schmale. “The relationship-building and lobbying done by SAF and its partners, combined with grassroots support of members, had a huge positive impact on the outcome of this issue.”

Some specific details of the bill include:

• The critical pest and disease research program coordinated by USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) was increased from $50 million per year to $62.5 million in each of the next four years, and $75 million in 2018, with a minimum of $5 million targeted to the National Clean Plant Network. Strongly supported by SAF and AmericanHort, the APHIS research has targeted research dollars to study impatiens downy mildew, chrysanthemum white rust, gladiolus rust, boxwood blight and new invasive insects — just to name a few of the research projects that have benefitted the floriculture industry.

• The bill provides $80 million annually for the Specialty Crop Research Initiative, an increase from the previous level of $50 million, with hard-fought new provisions providing for increased industry participation in review of research proposals to ensure that industry priorities are addressed. Dr. Terril A. Nell, a former SAF president, helped make that change by participating as a member of USDA’s Specialty Crops Subcommittee review panel in 2011.

• Specialty Crop Block Grant funding is increased from $50 million per year to $72.5 million per year for the next four years, and to $85 million per year in 2018. Block grants have provided funding for important state initiatives to increase flower and plant promotion in states like Hawaii, Alaska, California, Texas, Michigan and others.

Schmale attributes the successful outcome for the floral industry to two additional factors: SAF’s ongoing financial commitment to serve as a steering committee member of the Specialty Crops Farm Bill Alliance and dollars given to congressional candidates by the Society of American Florists Political Action Committee (SAFPAC).

“We have joined with our partners in SCFBA’s Steering Committee to work hard on this bill, and it has paid off,” Schmale says. “As we look into the future, we will know that our industry’s hard work has kept specialty crops alive as a recognized, and funded, partner in American agriculture. The bipartisan work of members of the House and Senate who have finally made this possible is enormously appreciated!”

Schmale also cited the impact of SAFPAC dollars, which were given to legislators who support the floral and nursery industry and the Farm Bill. “Those SAFPAC contributions gave SAF a foot in the door of several congressional offices,” she adds. “This is a perfect example of how SAF’s political action committee is used to leverage support for an issue on Capitol Hill.”

For more information, contact Lin Schmale at [email protected] or 800-336-4743.

Topics:

Leave a Reply

2 comments on “Congress Sends Farm Bill To President Obama, Who Expects To Sign It Friday, February 7

  1. You neglected to mention, Legal cultivation of hemp—a cousin of marijuana used to make everything from fabrics to pharmaceuticals—is closer to becoming reality as a result of a provision tucked into the farm bill that passed the House last week.

    Federal law effectively prohibits the cultivation of hemp, making no distinction between that plant and marijuana, which is much more potent. However, nine states have passed laws legalizing industrial hemp farming, including California, Kentucky and Vermont, according to Vote Hemp, a not-for-profit advocacy group.

    If the legislation becomes law, universities and agriculture departments in those states would be able to grow it for research purposes, with the hope that commercial production could be on the horizon. Permits to grow hemp for research purposes are technically available now, though they are extremely difficult to get.

    “We are laying the groundwork for a new commodity market for Kentucky farmers,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.), who helped craft the language in the farm bill, said in a statement. Farmers there have struggled to find a replacement for tobacco, which is being grown less.

More From Business Management...
Trays move on an overhead conveyor to the end of the production line, where workers carefully pack the cleaned, sized, graded, counted and sorted Calla tubers

November 29, 2016

Texas Judge Halts Overtime Rule; Here’s What It Means For Greenhouse Growers

According to Craig Regelbrugge at AmericanHort, the injunction against the overtime rule is welcome news for horticulture.

Read More
griffin-andrea-nelson-and-bill-watson

November 22, 2016

Griffin Adds Two Industry Veterans To Its Sales Team

Bill Watson and Andrea Nelson, the newest members of Griffin, answer questions about the state of the horticulture industry, and their role in moving it forward.

Read More

November 21, 2016

How Building New Markets Can Reduce Dependency On Your Current Business [Opinion]

Greenhouse Grower Editor Laura Drotleff says a smart and sustainable business goes beyond boundaries to create more demand outside of traditional channels.

Read More
Latest Stories
Trays move on an overhead conveyor to the end of the production line, where workers carefully pack the cleaned, sized, graded, counted and sorted Calla tubers

November 29, 2016

Texas Judge Halts Overtime Rule; Here’s What It Means F…

According to Craig Regelbrugge at AmericanHort, the injunction against the overtime rule is welcome news for horticulture.

Read More
griffin-andrea-nelson-and-bill-watson

November 22, 2016

Griffin Adds Two Industry Veterans To Its Sales Team

Bill Watson and Andrea Nelson, the newest members of Griffin, answer questions about the state of the horticulture industry, and their role in moving it forward.

Read More

November 21, 2016

How Building New Markets Can Reduce Dependency On Your …

Greenhouse Grower Editor Laura Drotleff says a smart and sustainable business goes beyond boundaries to create more demand outside of traditional channels.

Read More
griffin-expo

November 11, 2016

Griffin Announces Dates For Its 2017 Grower & Retai…

The events will take place Aug. 23-24 in Massachusetts, and Sept. 27-28 in Pennsylvania.

Read More

November 8, 2016

AmericanHort Hosting Lean Flow-Focused Webinar On Novem…

The webinar is the first in a series that will cover how Lean Flow affects your marketing, your customers, and your product offerings.

Read More
oregon-lean-flow

November 8, 2016

Oregon Nursery Lean Consortium Welcomes New Grower Memb…

The Oregon Nursery Lean Consortium, which helps the horticulture industry learn and apply Lean principles, is inviting greenhouse and nursery growers — and their suppliers — to join its 2017 program.

Read More
Great Lakes Expo

November 7, 2016

Greenhouse Growers Expo Will Focus On Improving Plant Q…

Sessions at the Greenhouse Growers Expo, which takes place in Grand Rapids, MI, in December, will focus on maintaining and increasing plant quality through successful rooting of cuttings, disease and pest management, and plant disorder diagnostics.

Read More
hoffman-nursery-owners

November 7, 2016

Hoffman Nursery Embarks On New Opportunities In Green I…

Thirty years ago, John and Jill Hoffman set off on an epic adventure to grow ornamental grasses. Today, Hoffman Nursery continues to evolve, and through its leadership, the operation is helping to secure a position for horticulture on one of the next great frontiers — green infrastructure.

Read More
urban-crops-pieter-de-smedt-and-maarten-vandecruys

November 3, 2016

Belgium-Based Vertical Farming Specialist Urban Crops O…

The opening of the new office in Miami, FL, is part of a continued expansion plan for the company, which creates tailored growth structures that are turnkey, automated, robotized, and able to be integrated into existing production facilities.

Read More
giving-tuesday

November 3, 2016

American Floral Endowment Once Again Joins Giving Tuesd…

On Tuesday, Nov. 29, floral industry supporters are encouraged to make a tax-deductible, year-end donation to AFE to help it continue providing benefits for all segments of the industry.

Read More
americanhort-plug-and-cutting-conference-2016

November 1, 2016

AmericanHort’s Plug And Cutting Conference Tackles Bioc…

The event included a grower tour, biocontrols workshop, and educational sessions focused on water management, labor, pest and disease control, and smart production strategies for great plug quality.

Read More
2015 GROW Summit_discussion shot

October 28, 2016

How We Can Inspire Millennials To Get Involved In Horti…

By uniting our efforts, we can attract new generations of growers and consumers to the horticulture industry, starting when they are young.

Read More
americann-cannabis-facility-in-massachusetts

October 27, 2016

Large Cannabis Greenhouse On The Horizon In Massachuset…

A Colorado company is preparing to build the largest marijuana greenhouse in Massachusetts, a sprawling, high-tech complex that could eventually expand to nearly 1 million square feet, depending on whether voters in the state approve the sale of marijuana for recreational use in November.

Read More
The tradeshow at the Cannabis Business Summit & Expo — outside of the occasional 1960s vibe, perhaps — would feel familiar to most growers

October 26, 2016

Las Vegas Will Host Two Premier Cannabis Events In Nove…

The Marijuana Business Conference And Expo and the World Of Cannabis Summit each take place in mid-November.

Read More
Cannabis Close Up

October 26, 2016

Cannabis Growers Try To Become More Sustainable

As cannabis production continues to increase in some areas, one question seems to be coming up more and more: What is the most sustainable way to grow cannabis?

Read More
american-floral-endowment-horticulture-careers-video

October 26, 2016

New American Floral Endowment Video Creates Awareness A…

The American Floral Endowment (AFE) has created a video to promote careers in floriculture and horticulture and to inform students about AFE scholarship and internship programs.

Read More
greenhouseconnect-2016-welcome-reception

October 25, 2016

Growers And Suppliers Discuss Long-Term Strategic Needs…

Greenhouse Grower’s annual event, held in Park City, UT, earlier this month, brought 19 growers together with 25 suppliers for two days of one-on-one discussions geared toward solving problems and generating new ideas.

Read More
young-professionals

October 25, 2016

AFE Develops Employer Resource Guide For Floral Interns…

The guide was created to help greenhouse and floral companies build a successful internship program, with easy-to-use guidelines and steps to create meaningful learning experiences for the next generation of business leaders.

Read More
[gravityform id="35" title="false" description="false"]