Congresswoman Suzan DelBene today introduced a bipartisan resolution supporting specialty crops, highlighting the vital role they play in America's agricultural industry and calling for the inclusion of specialty crop programs in a new farm bill.
"Whether it's red raspberries, blueberries, green peas or any number of different fruits and vegetables grown by our local farmers, specialty crops play a key part in Western Washington's economy. This resolution is acknowledgement of the significant impact specialty crops play in our nation's economy," said DelBene. "Serving on the House Agriculture committee as it works on passing a farm bill, I will be a tireless advocate for the inclusion of specialty crop programs and other job-creating investments that ensure we have a vibrant local agricultural industry."
The resolution highlights the growing and increasingly significant role that specialty crops play in America's agricultural industry. It calls for the inclusion in the farm bill of programs that support specialty crops by assisting in opening up new markets abroad and research that helps improve crop yields and food safety such as the Specialty Crop Research Initiative.
Nationally, the annual value of specialty crops totals more than $50 billion, accounting for about half of all domestic crop value. In Whatcom County, specialty crops equal about $100 million in sales. Agriculture is the leading industry in Skagit County and over 90 different specialty crops are grown in the county alone. Combined, King and Snohomish counties have thousands of small and mid-size farms growing dozens of specialty crops which supply local farmers markets, restaurants and consumers with quality, fresh, locally grown goods.