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Rubio Supports Farm Bill with Important Provisions for Florida Citrus and Agriculture
Washington, D.C. – Today the U.S. Senate approved the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (2018 Farm Bill), which includes key provisions advanced by U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) to authorize funding for research and relief for Florida’s citrus industry, including a provision to ensure that crop insurance policies be improved to meet the unique needs of Florida growers.
“Florida’s economy and the livelihoods of many throughout the state rely on vibrant citrus, fruit, and vegetable production,” Rubio said. “There are several important wins for Florida farmers and consumers in this bill, not least of which is the continuation of critical citrus research and reforms to crop insurance, which are badly needed as the industry continues to recover from citrus greening and Hurricane Irma.”
Key Rubio supported provisions included in the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018:
- Authorizes $80 million per year for the Specialty Crop Research Initiative
- Authorizes $25 million per year for the Emergency Citrus Disease Research and Development Trust Fund
- Establishes a citrus trust fund and directs the Secretary to make payments annually for the purpose of citrus research and extension activities, technical assistance, and development activities to combat certain pests and diseases as well as to support dissemination and commercialization of certain relevant discoveries.
- Prioritizes payments for research priorities established through the National Agricultural Research, Extension, Education, and Economics Advisory Board, with consideration towards citrus disease response and other research and extension projects.
- Requires that funds provided from the trust fund not supplant funds made available to carry out other activities by the Department of Agriculture, and provides funding for the trust fund for each calendar year through 2023.
- Reauthorization of the Citrus Disease Subcommittee for Specialty Crop Committee
- Amends current law allowing the Commodity Credit Corporation to maintain or improve existing policies crop insurance policies or develop new policies.
- Provides direction for the improvement of crop insurance policies related to whole farm plans, citrus, and greenhouse production.
- Prohibits U.S. taxpayer
sfunded travel and marketing activities of U.S. agriculture trade associations and growers from benefitting the Cuban military by reinforcing directives set forth under the National Security Presidential Memorandum,“Strengthening the Policy of the United States Toward Cuba,” issued by the President on June 16, 2017.
- Extends the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) through January 31, 2019.
- Prohibits dogs and cats from being slaughtered for human consumption