As the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee meets this week to consider its final version of a new Farm Bill, United President and CEO Tom Stenzel forwarded a letter to Committee Chairman Tom Harkin (IA) today that expresses apprehension regarding the bill's current state and recommends more consideration be given to America's produce industry. 

"There have been countless studies in recent years that suggest eating more fruits and vegetables results in reduced risk for individuals to many types of cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure, and a host of other debilitating and chronic diseases ," said Robert Guenther, United's Vice President for Government and Public Affairs.  "Everyone, especially our nation's leaders, must do their part in promoting a more nutritious diet for our society and ultimately, a healthier America.  With so much at stake, we urge the members of the Senate Agriculture Committee to do the right thing for the health of our nation and offer a Farm Bill that adequately addresses the priorities of our produce industry." 

Contained in today's letter, Stenzel adds "Specifically, we believe several overarching policy initiatives which are contained in this proposal would work against the industry and weaken the economic viability of the produce growers across this country.  More importantly, they would also be contrary to the call for strengthening of the safety net for agriculture producers as laid out in your legislation and Farm Bill goals."  The letter continues by suggesting further examination of provisions in the current measure which would be particularly detrimental to the produce industry -- these include the expansion of Food Stamp funding for the purchase of nutritional supplements, the delay of increased allocation to the Market Access Program (MAP), and places limitations on fees collected through Agricultural Quarantine and Inspection (AQI) practices.

To view a copy of the entire letter click here