President Bush signs specialty crop legislation
President Bush signed the Specialty Crops Competitiveness Act into law Tuesday.
The bill authorizes $44.5 million a year in block grants to the states for improving the competitiveness of specialty crops. The legislation also authorizes another $2 million per year to the Technical Assistance for Specialty Crops Program, which was established to assist exports of specialty crops.
The bill raises the research priority for specialty crops within U.S. Department of Agriculture and authorizes $1.5 million per year for the maintenance of the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service inspection training center in Fredericksburg, Va.
Produce shippers are generally pleased with the legislation.
Tom Stenzel, president of the Washington-based United Fresh Fruit & Vegetable Association, said in a statement that the legislation “represents an important step forward in advancing the federal government’s focus and commitment to the fruit and vegetable industry.”