Non-specialty crops seeking access to valuable specialty crop programs
As a co-chair of the Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance (SCFBA), NPC CEO Kam Quarles today signed on to a joint letter to the Chairs and Ranking Members of the Senate and House Agriculture Committees officially opposing the use of specialty crop funds by non-specialty crops, including hemp.
Various non-specialty crops have been arguing for Congress to expand the definition of specialty crops and thereby provide access to valuable specialty crop programs. The commodities asking for this expansion include the natural stone industry, wild rice, and hemp, among others.
“Specialty crops had a clear definition approved by Congress in 2004, when we had very little funding devoted to our industry. Nearly 20 years of hard work later, we have developed some very valuable programs at USDA to assist our growers with research, marketing, pest and disease defense and trade. Rather than doing their own hard work, these new commodities want us to donate our limited funds to their causes. We oppose those efforts,” said Kam Quarles, NPC CEO.
The SCFBA letter and policy statement comes a month after NPC’s Board of Directors took action to recommend the Council officially oppose the use of specialty crop funds by non-specialty crops, including hemp, during the 2022 Summer Meeting in Nashville.