USA: Congress approves US$75m in market loss assistance for apple growers
2002 Agriculture Appropriations Bill Now Awaits President Bush's Signature
McLean, Va. - The U.S. Senate today approved the final 2002 agricultural appropriations bill, which provides apple growers with $75 million in much-needed assistance to compensate for losses suffered during the 2000 crop year. The final bill, which was approved by the U.S. House of Representatives Nov. 13, is now headed to the White House for President George W. Bush's signature.
Apple industry leaders welcomed the measure's approval as necessary for survival in tough economic times.
"America's apple growers have faced devastating economic conditions over the past five years that forced some producers to cut down their trees or abandon their orchards," said U.S. Apple Association (USApple) President and CEO Kraig R. Naasz, whose group spearheaded efforts to secure the apple assistance funds. "While this assistance should help some of our nation's struggling apple growers to stave off extinction, it won't be enough to keep all of those on the edge of financial ruin from falling off."
The joint House-Senate agricultural appropriations conference committee agreed Nov. 8 to a compromise agriculture spending bill that provides $75 million for apple growers. The House of Representative's version of the legislation (H.R. 1330), which it approved July 11, had included $150 million in market loss assistance for apple growers. The Senate's version of the agricultural spending bill (S. 1191), adopted Oct. 24, did not include assistance for apple growers.
According to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) statistics, U.S. apple growers have lost $500 million in the past year, and more than $1.5 over the past five years. Growers have been faced with a variety of adverse conditions, including unfairly priced imports of apple juice concentrate, high regulatory costs, food retail consolidation and subsidized foreign competition.
The U.S. Apple Association (USApple) is the national trade association representing all segments of the apple industry. Members include 40 state and regional apple associations representing the nation's 9,000 apple growers, as well as 500 individual firms involved in the apple business. USApple's mission is to provide the means for all segments of the U.S. apple industry to join in appropriate collective efforts to profitably produce and market apples and apple products.
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