The $1.7 trillion federal funding bill passed right before Christmas includes a couple of tree fruit nuggets.
The omnibus bill includes an increase of $1 million for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service, said the Northwest Horticultural Council. The funding will pay for a tree fruit entomologist position in Wapato, Washington, that has been vacant since 2019 and a new tree fruit pathologist position in Hood River, Oregon.
Senator Patty Murray, D-Seattle, helped secure the funding, the Horticultural Council said.
The measure — which includes everything from U.S. defense spending to Ukranian aid — did not include a farm labor reform bill that a bi-partisan group of lawmakers, with the support of the fruit industry and labor advocates, tried to include in mid-December.