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New Farm Bill Adds Support for Grapes, Wine

March 2014
 
by Andrew Adams
 
 
Farm Bill Costs
 

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Grapegrowing research and other programs to support the wine industry will receive increased funding from the Agricultural Act of 2014 (commonly known as the Farm Bill), signed Feb. 7 after four years of debate. The mammoth $956 billion act sets funding for five years for a broad sweep of agricultural interests including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance (food stamp) Program, which it cut by $8 billion over the next decade.

This Farm Bill represents an increase in investment of 55% over the 2008 Farm Bill in specialty crop initiatives and programs including the State Block Grant Program, Specialty Research Initiative, a pest and disease-prevention program along with maintaining funding for the Market Access Program, according to WineAmerica.

The Specialty Crop Research Initiative will get $80 million per year through fiscal year 2018. The Specialty Crop Grant Program is set to receive $72.5 million per year through 2017 and then reach $85 million in 2018. Pest and disease funding will receive $62.5 million per year and $75 million in 2018, with a minimum of $5 million dedicated to the National Clean Plant Network.

“The funding levels were all at what we recommended to the legislators, and that’s going to give us five years of the research we need,” said WineAmerica executive director Mark Chandler.

The Farm Bill also funds the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) that protects vineyards from plant pests and disease threats such as Pierce’s disease and European grapevine moth.

Among its many provisions, the bill also expanded crop insurance for farmers by $7 billion over a decade.

 
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