New USDA Aid Packages Announced

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Nov. 15 announced plans for additional emergency relief and pandemic assistance from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). USDA is preparing to roll out the Emergency Relief Program (ERP) Phase Two as well as the new Pandemic Assistance Revenue Program (PARP). The two programs help offset crop and revenue losses for growers. USDA is sharing early information to help …

USTR Declines Section 301 Petition, But Recognizes Southeastern Grower Challenges

This week the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) announced that it will pursue avenues to assist the Southeast seasonal produce industry in coordination with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) after members of Congress requested an examination of certain issues in a Sept. 8, 2022, Section 301 petition. The Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association (FFVA) released …

5 Tips for Hurricane Reporting and Documentation

As growers begin to assess the damage left by Hurricane Ian, there’s some important considerations to keep in mind. Kimberly Lott, with Crop Disaster Recovery, provides five tips. She noted that many growers didn’t receive the full amount of money they could have been eligible for after Hurricane Irma — reporting and documentation are key. 1. REPORT LOSSES, GET INSPECTIONGrowers …

Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance Lays Out Priorities

The Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance (SCFBA), a national coalition of more than 200 specialty crop organizations representing growers of fruits, vegetables, dried fruit, tree nuts, nursery plants and other products, has released its statement of principles for consideration of the 2023 farm bill. The SCFBA was established to advocate for broad-based farm bill policy initiatives to address the unique …

Recognizing Leadership in a Critical Time

By Peter Chaires It is hard to believe that it has been eight years since Brian Scully returned to Florida as lab director for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Horticultural Research Laboratory in Fort Pierce, Florida. Scully was certainly no stranger to Florida or its citrus industry at the time of his return. However, he accepted the USDA position at …

Don’t Miss the Buzz About Pollinator Week

By Frank Giles This week is National Pollinator Week. Pollinator species, such as bees, other insects, birds, and bats play a critical role in producing more than 100 crops grown in the United States. Honeybee pollination alone adds more than $18 billion in value to agricultural crops annually. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) used the week as an occasion …

Farm Policy Should Focus on Food Security

By Frank Giles As talks get underway for the 2023 Farm Bill, the Biden administration has made it clear that its focus will be on climate change. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack made the priority clear when he took the lead of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). “USDA is committed to addressing climate change through actions that are farmer, …

USDA Seeks New Members to Serve on Fruit and Vegetable Advisory Committee

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced it intends to renew the charter of the Fruit and Vegetable Industry Advisory Committee (FVIAC). It is also seeking nominations from specialty crop stakeholders to serve on the FVIAC. The deadline for nominations is May 31, 2022. USDA is set to reestablish the committee’s charter for two years as required by the Federal Advisory …