Among other issues, Frey-Talley and Brim said pest and disease programs, marketing assistance programs, and attention to food safety issues was paramount. Brim urged the subcommittee to consider improved conservation programs that encourage producers to invest in natural resource protection measures that might be otherwise unaffordable.
Though not under the jurisdiction of the farm bill, both Brim and Frey-Talley noted that action on proposed immigration legislation be immediate.
Bushue focused largely on extending some programs normally available only to growers of crops such as corn, soybeans and wheat to farmers who grow specialty crops.
The value of specialty crop production in the U.S. is significant, accounting for approximately 17 percent of the $391 billion in agriculture cash receipts collected in 2012, Bushue noted.
Bushue also urged support for stacked income protection plan coverage of five specialty crops – apples, potatoes, tomatoes, grapes and sweet corn.
"The program would be administered by USDA's Risk Management Agency in a manner consistent with the current crop insurance delivery system," said Bushue. "It is designed to complement existing crop insurance programs. It does not change any features of existing insurance policies," he explained.
Bushue also pushed for continuation of the Farmers Market Promotion Program and Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Snack Program.