Back to May 2024

U.S. House Agriculture Committee Approves Farm Bill

Legislation Includes Provisions for Specialty Crop Assistance, Including Crop Insurance Updates and Research Funding

U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. National Pecan Federation shares updates from the Hill.

Photo by Louis Velazquez on Unsplash

Washington, D.C.—The U.S. House Committee on Agriculture voted to pass the Farm Bill, titled “The Farm, Food, and National Security Act of 2024” in a 33-21 vote. Four democrats – Reps. Sanford Bishop (GA-02), Yadira Caraveo (CO-08), Don Davis (NC-01), and Eric Sorenson (IL-17) – joined with all Republican Committee members in voting yes on this legislation.

Earlier this week, the National Pecan Federation sent a letter to U.S. House Agriculture Committee Chairman G.T. Thompson in support of this legislation, stating: “NPF sincerely appreciates the hard work that went into producing the Farm, Food, and National Security Act of 2024. This legislation will support pecan producers who have struggled in recent years due to increases in farm inputs, labor shortages, trade barriers, and supply chain disruptions.”

The Farm, Food, and National Security Act of 2024 includes provisions that will support pecan growers, including increased subsidies for crop insurance for specialty crops, modifications to the Tree Assistance Program (TAP), increased funding for the Specialty Crop Research Initiative and the Specialty Crop Mechanization and Automation Research and Extension Program, and increased funding for the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program.

During the committee markup, U.S. Congressman Barry Moore (AL-02), with cosponsor U.S. Congressman Gabe Vasquez (NM-02), offered an amendment to add tree nuts, including pecans, to USDA’s Seniors’ Farmers Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP). “Adding tree nuts, especially shelled pecans, to the Seniors Farmers Market Nutrition Program benefits Alabama producers and seniors,” said Rep. Moore. “Pecans are an important part of Alabama’s agriculture, and we are hopeful this legislation creates competitive markets for our tree nut producers.”

The amendment passed as part of the “en bloc” slate of amendments to the legislation. Alabama Pecan Growers Association President stated: “Making tree nuts, including pecans, eligible for participation in the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program will be very positive for the pecan industry. Every week, I have to turn away seniors at the farmers market that want to purchase pecans with their program benefits. There is high demand within this program for pecans, which are a healthy product containing good monounsaturated fats, protein, fiber, and other essential minerals. The Alabama Pecan Growers Association appreciates Congressman Moore for fighting for pecan growers in Alabama and across the United States by introducing and passing this amendment to the Farm, Food, and National Security Act of 2024.”

U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) led the effort in the U.S. Senate to add pecans to the Seniors’ Farmers Market Nutrition Program in the Senate with cosponsor U.S. Senator Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM) by introducing the “Farmers Market Expansion Act” in September 2023.

The Farm, Food, and National Security Act of 2024 also includes increased funds for the Market Access Program (MAP) and the Foreign Market Development (FMD) program. These funds will be essential in assisting pecan growers expand their export markets. The pecan industry has been working hard to open export markets in places such as India, and increased funding for these market programs will be essential to continuing this work and ensuring the viability of the American pecan industry into the future.

Following the markup, U.S. House Agriculture Committee Chairman G.T. Thompson said that he does not expect the legislation to be considered on the House Floor before September due to the busy appropriations schedule for the upcoming months.

Find more information about this legislation, including the full bill text, here.

Author Photo

National Pecan Federation

The National Pecan Federation (NPF) represents pecan growers and pecan shellers (many of whom are also importers) across the United States. The NPF's mission is to promote, protect, and improve business conditions for the pecan industry by representing and advocating their common interest to the government. The NPF comprises industry organizations across the US, including the Western Pecan Growers Association, Oklahoma Pecan Growers Association, Texas Pecan Growers Association, Southeastern Pecan Growers Association, Georgia Pecan Growers Association, and the National Pecan Shellers Association.