A statement just released this afternoon by the White House press secretary announced:

On Friday, Feb. 7, 2014, the President signed into law H.R. 2642, the “Agriculture Act of 2014,” which extends, expands, or modifies Federal agriculture and nutrition programs, including farm income support, crop insurance, conservation, credit assistance, trade, research, international food assistance, rural development, and other programs through the fiscal year 2018 crop year.

Follow this link to see the photo of President Obama — surrounded by Agriculture Secretary Vilsack, Sen. Debbie Stabenow, and other officials — signing the bill: pic.twitter.com/lzEqG1mWPf

The United Fresh Produce Association immediately issued a congratulatory news release (excerpted below):

United Fresh Produce Association applauds the signing of the Farm Bill (Agricultural Act of 2014) by President Obama today at a ceremony on the campus of Michigan State University in East Lansing. The event was hosted by Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, chairwoman of the Senate Agriculture Committee. Robert Guenther, United’s senior vice president of public policy, attended the ceremony along with administration officials, lawmakers and other agricultural industry representatives.

Today’s signing ends a three-year effort by United and specialty crop allies to approve a new five-year farm bill, which was passed by the House last week and by the Senate on Tuesday. The Farm Bill includes an overall increase in investment of 55 percent over 2008 Farm Bill funding levels in critical produce industry initiatives and programs, including the State Block Grant Program, Specialty Crops Research Initiative, a new fruit and vegetable incentive grant program for SNAP recipients, and the pest and disease prevention program. The bill also maintains funding for the Market Access Program and the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program, which United helped to spearhead in Congress more than 10 years ago to provide fresh produce snacks in schools.

“The 2014 farm bill is nothing less than a solid win for fresh produce on several fronts, including research, market promotion, pest and disease programs and nutrition initiatives,” said Tom Stenzel, president & CEO of United Fresh. 

For more information about provisions in the 2014 Farm Bill, visit United’s website at www.unitedfresh.org/farmbill

Rep. Frank Lucas, chairman of the House Committee on Agriculture, also issued a statement after President Obama signed the Agricultural Act of 2014 into law. The statement listed a number of reforms included in the new law, including several that may impact food safety:

  • Provides historic reforms to dairy policy by repealing outdated and ineffective dairy programs.
  • Supports small businesses and beginning farmers and ranchers with training and access to capital.
  • Creates a permanent subcommittee within the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Science Advisory Board to conduct peer review of EPA actions that would negatively impact agriculture.
  • Enhances coordination between USDA, EPA, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) regarding the conflict between laws governing pesticide use and the Endangered Species Act.
  • Eliminates duplicative reporting requirements for seed importers; requires improved economic analysis of FDA regulations.