Leading farm bill negotiators in the House and Senate have announced that they have reached an “agreement in principle”. This fuels hopes that a final deal will be made before the end of the year.
Included in the initial agreement is language providing $25 million per year for 5 years starting in 2019 for research specific to the invasive insect Asian citrus psyllid and plant deadly plant disease Huanglongbing. The Emergency Citrus Disease Research and Development Trust Fund will build upon the program created in the Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI) title in the 2014 Farm Bill which dedicated research funding for citrus.
In a statement to the media, CCM emphasized that Farm Bill funding specific to HLB research compliments the $40 million per year program funded by California citrus growers to stop the spread of HLB.
Negotiators have agreed to maintain funding for the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s (APHIS) Plant Pest and Disease Management and Disaster Prevention Program and the National Clean Plant Network . Additionally, funding will continue for the Technical Assistance for Specialty Crops (TASC) program which helps growers overcome artificial trade barriers.