(Gainesville, Fla.) â€“ The 2008 farm bill passed yesterday by the House of Representatives promises to be more supportive of Florida agricultural producers than previous bills, according to Florida Farm Bureau President John L. Hoblick.
â€œThis farm bill contains a safety net for commodities, increased funds for conservation programs and mandatory spending for specialty crops,â€ Hoblick said. â€œIt is the best agriculture policy ever for Florida.â€
The bill includes a new Specialty Crop Title that provides more than $1 billion for state block grants and Florida will receive the second-largest amount of grant benefits. It increases nutrition programs by $10.4 billion and includes a fresh fruit and vegetable program for schools that will provide nutritious Florida products to millions of school children. The conservation title increases incentives that will help Florida producers protect and conserve natural resources. It will increase the sugar loan rate by three-quarters of a cent and will provide for a sugar-to-ethanol program.
â€œWe appreciate the members of the Florida delegation who voted for the farm bill,â€ Hoblick said.
This week, 90 Florida Farm Bureau leaders traveled to Washington, D.C. to urge elected leaders to pass the farm bill.
In a statement issued Monday, the White House reiterated its pledge to veto the Farm Bill.
â€œWe hope President Bush will reconsider his veto pledge,â€ Hoblick said. â€œIf the farm bill is vetoed, Florida Farm Bureau will be at the forefront in urging the House and Senate to continue to support passage.â€
The Florida Farm Bureau Federation is the stateâ€™s largest general-interest agricultural association with about 140,000 member-families statewide. Headquartered in Gainesville, the Federation is an independent, nonprofit agricultural organization. More information about Florida Farm Bureau is available on the organizationâ€™s Web site, http://FloridaFarmBureau.org.