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Today Congress passed an $867 billion Farm Bill with strong bipartisan support. The House of Representatives voted 386-47 in favor of the bill. The Senate passed the legislation in an 87-to-13 vote on Tuesday.

“It will take us some time to wade through the bill and get to all the details of importance to the NHC,” said Mark Powers, president of the Northwest Horticultural Association.

The Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance commended House and Senate Agriculture Committee leadership for the strong bipartisan approach on this legislation. Some key provisions include:

—Continued support for programs that combat invasive pests and diseases, with the goal of enhancing its funding for the National Clean Plant Network.

—Maintains full funding of the Technical Assistance for Specialty Crops program and makes changes to enable the program to be more efficient in combating trade barriers.

—Continued strong funding of Specialty Crop Block Grants.

—Increased access to foreign markets by increasing funding for the Market Access Program.

Good Fruit Grower will provide updates as they are available.

–by Jonelle Mejica