The US House and Senate has this week voted to reauthorise the Farm Bill, providing funding and policy direction for agricultural, trade, conservation and nutrition programmes for the next five years.
The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 passed the House on a vote of 369-47 and the Senate by a vote of 87-13.
"After many months of work, and through coordination with the Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance, PMA is pleased to see the House and Senate approve this bill and looks forward to it moving quickly to the president for signature," The Produce Marketing Association said in a a statement.
PMA said it was pleased to see important provisions for the fresh produce and floral industry in areas including funding for research on critical issues for specialty crops, including produce and floral; continued funding for critical export promotion and trade facilitation programmes; and expanded nutrition programs providing fruits and vegetables to children and vulnerable populations.
Other areas taken into account were the recognition of the importance of fruits and vegetables in preventing and combating chronic disease, ensuring the USDA has necessary resources to combat pests and diseases, which threaten specialty crop production and exports, and maintaining funding to states for specialty crop block grants.
"With passage of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, the US government provides important direction to the fresh produce and floral industry," PMA added. "PMA looks forward to the president’s signature."