Investing In Specialty Crops

Investing In Specialty Crops

Investing In Specialty Crops

I’m Lacy Gray with Washington Ag Today.

The Senate voted to invoke cloture on the Farm Bill Tuesday to limit debate on the farm bill and amendments. Hopes are that the House will now pass the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2013, otherwise known as the Farm Bill. Chris Voigt, Executive Director of the Washington State Potato Commission comments.

VOIGT: A lot of people call it the Farm Bill where it really should be called the Food Nutrition Bill. Eighty percent of the funding that is in the Farm Bill Act actually goes towards food and nutrition programs like the SNAP program, which is food stamps. Only about twenty percent actually goes towards the agricultural community - and less than a third of a percent actually comes to specialty crops.

Voigt explains what that third of a percent does for specialty crops.

VOIGT: It’s good dollars going to good work like research, like helping us sell our products overseas, and helping us prevent any new diseases and infections entering the country to affect our crops.

One of those programs funded by the Farm Bill is the Market Access Program. Voigt talks about how MAP has helped potato growers.

VOIGT: The best selling topping in Korea on pizza - potatoes. That wouldn’t have happened if it wasn’t for the MAP program. The bakery industry in Asia has benefited because now there’s a lot of bakeries that are using about ten percent potato flour in their products, because MAP funding helped us figure out how to do that and how to sell potato products into markets that we normally wouldn’t have. So we’re pretty excited about the MAP program and we want to see that continue.

The Senate Farm Bill doubles investments in the Specialty Crop Research Initiative to $50 million by 2017 and would increase funding for the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program by thirty percent.


I’m Lacy Gray and that’s Washington Ag Today on the Ag Information Network. 

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