HTML _ IB10031 - Fruits and Vegetables: Ongoing Issues for Congress
13-Nov-2000; Brenda Branaman; 12 p.

Abstract: The FY2001 appropriations for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and related agencies (P.L. 106-387/H.R. 4461) was signed into law on October 28, 2000. The act addressed agricultural emergency assistance (disasters and market losses) for specific fruits, vegetables, and nursery; contingency funding for APHIS to control crop diseases; funding for the methyl bromide transition program; and funding for the National Organic Program. It also would provide for the establishment of a marketing order for Hass avocados, and would redirect the duties charged foreign countries for dumping to injured farmers, ranchers, and others. The Agricultural Risk Protection Act of 2000 (P.L. 106-224/H.R. 2559) became law on June 22, 2000. The law reformed the crop insurance program and approved funds to help fruit and vegetable growers suffering from low market prices and from specific crop diseases. The FY2000 appropriations for USDA and related agencies (P.L. 106-78/H.R. 1906) was signed into law on October 22, 1999. The act provides $188 million for the President's Food Safety Initiative; $1.2 billion in disaster assistance to farmers who have lost crops from natural disasters, including fruit and vegetable growers; and $200,000 for research on food irradiation. The act also reduced the Department of Labor's approval time for processing farm employers' applications for legal H-2A workers. Proposed amendments on the Market Access Program (MAP) and country-of-origin labeling were defeated. Subsequently, a supplemental appropriations bill (H.R. 3425) was enacted as part of the FY2000 Consolidated Appropriations Act (P.L. 106-113) which adds $576 million in emergency USDA assistance to the $8.7 billion provided in P.L. 106-78. Included in the $576 million is $186 million for crop disaster assistance, which when added to the $1.2 billion provided by P.L. 106-78, brings the total available for 1999 crop disaster assistance to $1.38 billion. P.L. 106-113 also instructs the Secretary of Agriculture to consider fruits and vegetables in deciding who gets crop disaster assistance and helps growers of specific produce crops with purchasing crop insurance for the 2001 crop year. In the 106th Congress several bills have been proposed on issues of concern to the fruit and vegetable industry. The Fruit and Vegetable Safety Act (S. 823) would make mandatory certain practices to ensure the safety of both domestically produced and imported food. This bill and several others would increase border inspections of imported food, including fresh fruits and vegetables, among other provisions. Other bills proposed in the 106th Congress have provisions to require country-of-origin labeling at the retail level; to counter unfair trading practices, including non-tariff barriers such as sanitary and phytosanitary measures; to ensure that sound science and public discussion are used in decision-making on pesticide registrations; and to reform the agricultural guest worker (H-2A) program. [read report]

Topics: Agriculture, Risk & Reform

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