On Thursday June 7th, the 2012 Farm Bill (S. 3240), officially named the Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act, cleared a procedural hurdle in the U.S. Senate by a vote of 90-8. The vote for cloture moves the bill to the floor for discussion and the consideration of amendments. As of Friday, June 8th, nearly a hundred amendments were offered for consideration and more are expected to be filed in the days before debate begins, which will likely be late in the day Tuesday (June 7th) or early Wednesday (June 8th). Despite broad bipartisan support for the cloture vote, many of the amendments offered address contentious issues and could distract some supporters of the bill.
The American Nursery & Landscape Association is working with industry partners to identify and address amendments that could impact specialty crop interests. The Senate's version of the 2012 Farm Bill includes and strengthens specialty crop provisions like the plant pest and disease prevention program, National Clean Plant Network, Specialty Crop Research Initiative, and Specialty Crop Block Grant. In addition, the bill reduces the federal deficit by more than $23 billion and eliminates direct payments to commodity farmers.
The 2012 Farm Bill made it through the Senate committee on a bipartisan basis, addresses deficit concerns, and strengthens federal support for specialty crops, like nursery, greenhouse, and Christmas tree crops. Please contact your Senators and let them know of your support for the specialty crop title of the bill. Click here
to send your message of support to the Senate.