(Washington, D.C.) Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers is an original co-sponsor of legislation to help ensure an abundant and affordable supply of fruits, vegetables, tree nuts and other specialty crops in order to promote healthy eating, and also enhance the competitiveness of our agricultural sector.
“Our farmers in Eastern Washington play an important role in providing us with a safe and healthy food supply,” said McMorris Rodgers. “We must to encourage healthy living, part of which includes eating healthier foods. This legislation, along with the 2007 Farm Bill, provides a unique opportunity to link sound nutritional guidelines to changes in agricultural policy. Expanding opportunities to promote and export specialty crops will help grow our billion dollar agriculture industry.”
Washington state’s agricultural diversity, with over 300 food, feed and seed crops, is second only to California. Washington ranks first in the nation in its production of several specialty crops such as apples, pears, sweet cherries, carrots, and red raspberries.
H.R. 1600, the Equitable Agriculture Today for a Healthy American Act (EAT Healthy Act) will create new export opportunities for agriculture producers by expanding the Technical Assistance for Specialty Crops Program (TASC), the Market Access Program (MAP), and by raising the profile of specialty crops within USDA and other key federal agencies. TASC has been critical in helping growers eliminate pests and diseases that are keeping specialty crops out of foreign markets. MAP has been successful in helping Eastern Washington farmers finance promotional activities for their agriculture products.