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The points of contact between Rutgers Cooperative Extension Service and the grower & business communities are the NJ County Agricultural Agents. The agents are a tremendous source of information for both new and experienced growers. Visit your local county extension office.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Support for Vegetable Crops in Farm Bill 2012 Debate

In a letter to Senate Ag Committe Chairperson Stabenow and Ranking Member P. Roberts, 32 senators called for the 2012 Farm Bill to build on previous specialty crop investments. The Farm Bill expires in September.

Specialty crops, which includes vegetables, are a critical component of the agriculture economy and represent nearly half of all farmgate crop value in America.
-Andy Wyenandt

The letter notes that investments in the 2008 Farm Bill included research, invasive pest and disease mitigation, foreign market development, nutrition and targeted state-level funding for local initiatives. This translated into job creation, trade expansion, infrastructure investment for capacity building, targeted research for new innovations and technology, and increased access for fruits and vegetables in federal nutrition programs.

The Senate committee is likely to take the first steps in moving farm bill legislation forward in the coming weeks in a budget climate that got tighter last month when House Republicans backed more ambitious budget cuts. All agricultural programs will be competing for a smaller pot of money.