Washington, D.C. — The U.S. Senate and House passed a new Farm Bill, H.R. 2642, the Agricultural Act of 2014 today. The bill, which sets farm policy and spending levels for the next five years, contains a number of programs of importance to the California wine industry. Wine Institute was active in working with legislators, the California Congressional delegation and the Specialty Crop Alliance to ensure its passage. The House passed the bill with a vote of 251-166, with the support of 162 Republicans and 89 Democrats. The Senate approved passage by a vote of 68-32. The bill has been sent to the President's desk for signature.
"The Farm Bill helps California vintners in the very competitive world marketplace for wine. This is long overdue, and we’re pleased that with its passage, California wine promotion around the world will not be interrupted," said Wine Institute President and CEO Robert P. (Bobby) Koch.
Specialty Crops, including wine, will benefit from the new Farm Bill through the following programs:
Specialty Crop Block Grants — Annual funding was increased by $30 million, from $55 million to $85 million, over the next five years. Several wine organizations, including Wine Institute and the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance (CSWA), have received these competitive grants for education and promotion in previous years.
Specialty Crop Research Initiative — $80 million of new funding was added for specialty crop research, which includes winegrapes.
Market Access Program (MAP) — $200 million annually was reauthorized for all crops. Wine Institute receives cost-share funding as administrator of California's wine export program by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Foreign Agricultural Service. More than 170 wineries participate in the program with California wine exports to 125 countries reaching $1.4 billion in 2012 and on track for another record year in 2013.
Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Plant Pest and Disease Program — Protects agriculture from plant pests and disease threats, such as Pierce's Disease and European Grapevine Moth.
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