The Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance (SCFBA) applauded the passage of the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2012 in the Senate today.

The 64-35 vote comes after a two-day consideration of more than 70 amendments, pared down from the nearly 300 that were submitted.

The bill addresses many of the critical priorities outlined by the SCFBA and continues the support of specialty crops that was established in the 2008 farm bill.

“We appreciate the hard work of Majority Leader Reid, Republican Leader McConnell, Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, and Ranking Member Roberts for getting this challenging but vital farm bill over the Senate finish line,” said John Keeling, National Potato Council executive vice-president and CEO and co-chair of the Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance.

“The policies of the farm bill passed by the Senate will help protect the tens of thousands of jobs associated with the specialty crop industry and will help create more. And it further strengthens the access of all Americans to the specialty crops that enhance their daily lives.  

“We look forward to ensuring the voices of employers, workers and families dependent on a strong specialty crop industry are heard as the House makes progress on its farm bill.”

"At a time when it's critically important for Americans to be eating more fruits and vegetables, Senate passage of this bill is great news for consumers," said Mike Stuart, president of the Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association and co-chair of the Alliance.

"Besides preserving jobs, it helps to ensure access to a plentiful supply of healthful specialty crops. What's more, this bill addresses some of the continual significant challenges specialty crop growers face in the production and marketing of their crops in an increasingly global marketplace. We look forward to working with the House as it takes up its version of the bill."

“For specialty crop producers across the country the farm bill represents an opportunity to create a healthier life for Americans across the country,” said Tom Nassif, president and CEO, Western Growers and co-chair of the Alliance.

“Farm Bill funding helps fuel innovations in farming that will help our producers grow and harvest an abundant supply of specialty crops utilizing fewer natural resources.

“This is an opportunity to help our industry in the short- and long-term as well as help secure the jobs of millions of American workers who support agriculture and reduce the federal deficit.

“Now that the Senate has completed its work, we look forward to seeing Chairman Lucas and Ranking Member Peterson move the farm bill through the House Agriculture Committee.”