Farm leader: New farm bill contains breakthrough for California
» May 15, 2008 «
Calling it a "breakthrough bill" that expands benefits for California farmers, ranchers and consumers, the leader of the California Farm Bureau Federation welcomed today's final congressional passage of a new, five-year farm bill.
The bill includes, for the first time, specific investments in marketing, research and export programs for fruit, vegetable and nut crops. The so-called "specialty crop" provisions also expand federal nutrition programs to include additional purchases of fresh fruits and vegetables.
"This is a breakthrough bill for California family farmers and ranchers," California Farm Bureau President Doug Mosebar said. "Going into the farm bill discussions, we set a goal to make sure the bill created new market opportunities and improved competitiveness for California farms and ranches. This bill achieves that goal."
Mosebar said the farm bill also expands conservation programs that have proven popular with California farmers and ranchers, particularly the Environmental Quality Incentives Program. Known as EQIP, the program shares costs with farmers and ranchers who invest in projects to improve air and water quality and wildlife habitat.
"Working farmlands benefit the environment," he said. "The farm bill conservation programs will help farmers and ranchers improve the stewardship work they already do. It will also help them meet environmental regulations that have become increasingly strict."
Mosebar noted that almost three-quarters of the money contained in the bill will be directed to nutrition and food-stamp programs. He said consumers will also benefit from a part of the bill that speeds country-of-origin labeling for meats and produce.
"California will also gain from farm bill programs to keep invading pests and diseases out of the country," he said. "The light brown apple moth infestation has shown us how disruptive and expensive a pest invasion can be. It's important that we invest in programs to keep pests from getting here in the first place."
The California Farm Bureau Federation, the state's largest farm organization, works to protect family farms and ranches on behalf of 91,000 members statewide.
Contact: Rosanna Westmoreland
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