With an eye on federal budget restraints, the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Nutrition and Horticulture heard from specialty crop growers about their Farm Bill priorities on Tuesday.
Chairwoman Jean Schmidt of Ohio says she is especially interested in the challenges and successes of the Plant, Pest and Disease program in the Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI) for early pest detection, surveillance and response.
“This program has no baseline funding going forward in the next Farm Bill,” says Representative Schmidt, “Capitalizing on the successful collaboration between universities, growers, agencies, and grower associations from SCRI will be a concern of this committee moving forward.”
Although agriculture has already made cuts, she says they may be called on to make more, and this program needs to remain, “It is of the utmost importance that American producers are able to meet the threats head-on from disease, pests and pathogens and this program is essential to that effect.”
Schmidt says although the research initiative is not technically in the subcommittee’s jurisdiction, it is a critical element of the overall specialty crop portfolio.
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