OFA Bulletin May/June 2011 : Page 2

OFA Mission Statement To support and advance professional horticulture. OFA – The Association of Horticulture Professionals 2130 Stella Court Columbus, Ohio 43215-1033 USA 614-487-1117 Fax: 614-487-1216 ofa@ofa.org www.ofa.org Forum Even More Words from Washington A by Lin Schmale OFA Bulletin May/June 2011 NUMBER 927 Editorial Staff Editor Stephen A. Carver, Ph.D. Laura Kunkle Contributors Art Cameron Alicain S. Carlson Raymond Cloyd John M. Dole Gary Hudson Jason Lembke Bill McCurry C.J. Nielson Lin Schmale Jeffrey Scott M.E. Stanghellini Marty Stanley Jeff Warschauer s I write this, the Society of American Florists (SAF) just finished its 31 st annual Congressional Action Days. Representatives from every type and size of floral business (growers, retail florists, designers, wholesalers, suppliers, importers, and more) visited Washington to meet with their Congressional representatives and senators – and present the floral industry’s views on issues of key importance to their businesses. OFA not only helped sponsor the event, but was ably represented by CEO Michael Geary, who wore out shoe leather walking the halls of Congress along with us. Certainly, the presence of the floral industry brightened up Washington and helped counter the negative cloud that seems to surround the city these days! So if you’re still reading this – what is the word from Washington? Farm Bill 2012 Typically, a new Farm Bill, authorizing all of the various programs of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is passed by Congress every five years. The last one should have been passed in 2007. It was actually, finally, passed over President Bush’s veto in 2008. When the 2008 Farm Bill was finally passed, as a result of SAF’s participation, along with the American Nursery & Landscape Association (ANLA) in the Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance, it included several provisions of importance to ornamentals growers. The Alliance efforts resulted in a first-ever inclusion of a “specialty crops” portion of the 2008 Farm Bill, which was a significant recognition of the key role that specialty crops play in our agricultural economy. Now, the Alliance is again meeting to agree on priorities for the specialty crop industry in the upcoming 2012 Farm Bill. SAF and ANLA will participate fully in this effort on behalf of the ornamentals industry. Both organizations are on the Alliance Steering Committee, giving us a very strong voice in the group’s decisions. We are, for example, active participants in the Alliance subgroup which is reviewing the Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI). Published Bimonthly Copyright © OFA 2011. Permission is hereby given to reprint articles appearing in this OFA Bulletin provided the following reference statement appears with the reprinted article: “Reprinted from the OFA Bulletin, (phone: 614-487-1117) May/June 2011, Number 927.” No endorsement is intended for products mentioned in this OFA Bulletin, nor is criticism meant for products not mentioned. The authors and OFA assume no liability resulting from the use of practices printed in this OFA Bulletin. We hope to strengthen this and other research components of the Farm Bill by making them more responsive to industry concerns, and by focusing more attention (and dollars) on such industry-driven efforts as the Floriculture & Nursery Research Initiative. As a result of our efforts, we hope that the 2012 Farm Bill will continue funding for an SCRI program and that that program will be greatly improved. Another of the very significant portions of the 2008 Farm Bill was new funding to USDA-APHIS for improved pest and disease management. This provision directed APHIS to create a program to help identify and prevent pest and disease threats to U.S. specialty crops. SAF and ANLA continue to work very closely with APHIS officials as they allocate this funding: $12 million mandatory funding for FY 2009; $45 million for FY 2010; and $50 million/year for FY 2011-2017. The major goal for this funding is to enable better predictive planning by APHIS, working with the industry. Once a pest reaches the United States, it is much more difficult, not to mention costly to the industry, government, and the environment, to eradicate. With better predictive efforts, including a stronger scientific base, advance planning can help both APHIS and private industry to avoid costly quarantine actions. Much of our effort over the next two years in Washington is going to be devoted to ensuring that, even in these very tight fiscal times, we maintain funding for our researchers, continue programs to help growers manage pests and diseases and avoid quarantines, and improve USDA’s ability to support our industry. Stay tuned! Immigration Reform A major disappointment last year was Congress’ failure to address this very urgent need – especially for agriculture. Now that OFA Bulletin 2

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