May 1, 2024
SCFBA applauds movement from House and Senate on farm bill

The Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance (SCFBA) is applauding movement on a farm bill from the House and Senate Agriculture Committees.

Both bodies released summaries of their proposals on May 1, with Senate committee chair Debbie Stabenow describing that version, which contains more than 100 bipartisan bills, as “very mainstream.”

Both proposals would expand crop insurance coverage, tweak reference prices and potentially allow base acres additions.

Each body hopes to push Congress to pass a new bill this year. The current bill, which expires Sept. 30, extended policies enacted by the 2018 Farm Bill.

House Agriculture chair Glenn “GT” Thompson said a panel will mark up the House proposal on May 23.

“I hope for unanimous support in this endeavor to bring stability to producers, protect our nation’s food security and revitalize rural America,” Thompson said in a statement.

The SCFBA is a national coalition of more than 200 specialty crop organizations representing growers of fruits, vegetables, dried fruit, tree nuts, nursery plants and other products. In early 2023, the alliance released a set of policy priorities as part of its Farm Bill recommendations.

“The Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance commends House Agriculture Committee Chairman Thompson and Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Stabenow for their work in moving the 2024 farm bill process forward,” the May 1 SCFBA statement read. “The specialty crop industry plays a vital role in American agriculture and in supporting the health and wellbeing of all Americans. It’s imperative that the 2024 farm bill build on a strong record of federal investments in valuable programs and establish new and innovative tools to enhance the competitive position of specialty crop growers across the country.

“The status quo is not sustainable for America’s specialty crop growers, and seemingly small enhancements to farm bill programs could have a transformational impact on the specialty crop industry.”

Issues including reallocating money provided by a 2022 clean energy law and food stamp benefits remain areas of contention. The House framework includes adding $14 billion from the Inflation Reduction Act to the baseline for conservation investments and enhancing crop insurance options.

“We are encouraged that both frameworks appear to include key investments for specialty crops and look forward to reviewing the details as they become available,” SCFBA said. “This is an important step in the legislative process — one we hope to build on by working with leaders in the House and Senate. We urge bipartisan collaboration as Congress moves through the process to ensure a farm bill is signed into law this year.”

Other agricultural organizations also saw positives in the summaries.

“Our 2022 Young Farmer Agenda is clear about the meaningful and necessary changes to federal farm policy that the new generation of young farmers and farmers of color need in order to steward the sustainable and resilient food systems our communities will depend on into the future,” Michelle Hughes, co-executive director of the National Young Farmers Coalition, said in a news release. “We are heartened to see the Senate farm bill priorities include steps toward more equitable land access and transition, support for the conservation practices young farmers are already leading on their farms, expanded investment in farmer mental health and well being, and more.

“While there is much more that farmers are calling for, and that Congress can do to address their needs and challenges, we see yesterday’s announcements as bringing us one step closer to that shared goal.”

75 Applewood Dr. Ste. A
P.O. Box 128
Sparta, MI 49345


Get one year of Spudman in both print and digital editions for FREE. Preview our digital edition »

Interested in reading the print edition of Spudman?

Subscribe Today »

website development by deyo designs