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Congresswoman Suzan DelBene

Representing the 1st District of Washington

DelBene Introduces Bipartisan Resolution Highlighting Importance of Specialty Crops

May 19, 2017
Press Release
Washington’s First District is home to more than 4,000 farms growing dozens of specialty crops including, red raspberries, lettuces, peppers, potatoes, carrots, onions blueberries and corn.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Suzan DelBene (WA-01) today introduced a bipartisan resolution supporting specialty crops, highlighting the vital role they play in America’s agricultural industry and calling for increased support of specialty crop programs.

“Whether it’s red raspberries, spinach, potatoes or any number of different fruits and vegetables grown by our local farmers, specialty crops play a critical part in western Washington’s economy,” DelBene said. “This resolution is an acknowledgement of the significant effect specialty crops play both in the local and national economy and I will continue to be a tireless advocate for specialty crop programs that ensure we have a vibrant agricultural industry.”

The resolution highlights the growing and increasingly significant role that specialty crops play in America’s agricultural industry. It calls for increasing support for specialty crops and builds on the progress DelBene made by the 2014 Farm Bill through opening new markets abroad and funding research that helps improve crop yields and food safety. Specialty crops are defined as fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture, and nursery crops – including floriculture.

Nationally, the annual value of specialty crops totals more than $60 billion, with about $14 billion in exports. Washington’s First District has more than 4,000 farms growing dozens of specialty crops, which supply local farmers markets, restaurants and consumers with quality, fresh, locally grown food. Whatcom County leads the nation in red raspberry production and specialty crops account for more than $100 million of the roughly $326 million in agricultural sales there. In addition, agriculture is the leading industry in Skagit County with more than 90 different specialty crops grown there.

Reps. Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE), Salud Carbajal (D-CA), Tom O’Halleran (D-AZ), Alma Adams (D-NC), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH), Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY), Peter Welch (D-VT), Dan Newhouse (R-WA), Jimmy Panetta (D-CA) are original cosponsors of the resolution.

DelBene’s resolution states:

  • Specialty crops are a vital part of agriculture in the United States, and that Congress should fund programs that support specialty crops as a growing and important part of agriculture in the United States.
  • It is paramount that Congress builds on the progress of the 2014 Farm Bill to provide funding for special crop programs in future Farm Bills, so as to provide certainty to farmers across the United States.
  • Specialty crops are a driving force in promoting a healthier country and are part of a healthy, balanced diet that can help consumers reach recommended dietary goals, which call for half of plates to be fruits and vegetables.
  • Specialty crops deserve their fair share of consideration and funding in agriculture generally, but especially in the annual appropriations process and future Farm Bills.

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