Fruits, Vegetables, and Other Specialty Crops: Selected Federal Programs [October 3, 2012]   [open pdf - 818KB]

"U.S. farmers grow more than 350 types of fruit, vegetable, tree nut, flower, nursery, and other horticultural crops in addition to the major bulk commodity crops. Specialty crop producers are ineligible for the federal commodity price and income support programs that benefit commodity crop producers (e.g., grains and cotton); however, they are eligible for other types of U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) support. Unlike federal support for commodity crops, support for specialty crops spans a wide range of existing USDA programs, many of which also provide support to other agricultural commodities. These include marketing and promotion programs, crop insurance and disaster assistance, plant pest and disease protections, trade assistance, and research and extension services, among other types of miscellaneous support. The industry also benefits from fruit and vegetable purchases under various domestic nutrition assistance programs. Despite this wide range of program support, overall program spending on all specialty crops remains a small fraction of that spent on all commodity crops, even when considering both mandatory and discretionary funding."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, R42771
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