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President Bush Signs Specialty Crops Bill

President George W. Bush has signed into law the Specialty Crops Competitiveness Act of 2004.

The bill authorizes $44.5 million per year in block grants to the states to be used solely to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops. The bill also authorizes an additional $2 million per year to the Technical Assistance for Specialty Crops Program, which was created to assist exports of specialty crops. Additionally, the legislation would establish specialty crop research as a high priority for the USDA’s research and Extension activities and authorize $1.5 million per year for the maintenance of the Agricultural Marketing Service inspection training center in Fredericksburg, Va.

Final passage of the Act culminates four years of efforts by agricultural associations across the industry since deliberations began on the last Farm Bill. Since that time, Congress has passed three laws that significantly enhance the strength of the fresh produce industry – the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002, the Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act of 2004 and now the Specialty Crops Competitiveness Act of 2004.

Originally posted Tuesday, Dec. 21, 2004

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