United Fresh joined hundreds of agriculture industry allies today at a rally in Washington, D.C., to urge Congress to pass a new Farm Bill before the current law expires on Sept. 30. Organized by the Farm Bill Now Coalition, the event featured remarks from Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., chairwoman of the Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee; Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan. Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minn., ranking member of the Committee on Agriculture; and Rep. Kristi Noem, R-S.D. on the importance of passing a Farm Bill.
David Masser, president and COO of Keystone Potato Products and member of United’s Fresh-Cut Processor Board, took the podium on behalf of the specialty crop industry. Other invited speakers, representing a variety of agriculture organizations, highlighted the broad implications of the 2012 Farm Bill on trade, energy, conservation, jobs and the economy. The National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, National Potato Council, Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance and Western Growers were also in attendance to show their support for a strong Farm Bill.
“Pressure is mounting on Congress to take action on a Farm Bill,” said Robert Guenther, United’s senior vice president of public policy. “The fresh produce industry could lose funding for several critical programs, including pest management, marketing, trade, nutrition and research programs, if a bill is not passed soon. We urge Congress to move forward with the legislation that the Senate and the House Agriculture Committee have crafted.”
Last week, United Fresh joined in a letter the Farm Bill Now Coalition sent to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. The letter underscored the urgent need for a new Farm Bill and warned against the long-term negative effects of the House-passed disaster bill. The full letter can be read here.
“Both the Senate and the House Agriculture Committees have produced reform-minded, bipartisan bills that address many of the core principles we believe are important, such as strengthening crop insurance as a reliable risk management tool,” said the letter. “We remain committed to attempting to pass a five-year farm bill as soon as possible, including the long-term provisions it includes, which would help alleviate the emergency conditions we are seeing across the country.”
“The Farm Bill Now rally is an important opportunity to unite the agriculture community and send a message that action is necessary,” said Guenther. “United Fresh members understand the importance of a Farm Bill and the resources it provides to strengthen the competitiveness of our industry. Now is the time for members to call their senators and representatives and let them know that this bill is a priority.”