Wines & Vines Home
   
 
Welcome Guest
LOGIN |  CREATE ACCOUNT
 
ADVERTISEMENT
 
 
 
09.25.2012  
 

Farm Bill Stall Imperils Wine Research

Will lame-duck Congress limp to plate in time to rescue budgets?

 
by Jane Firstenfeld
 
 
Alternative text
 
Jean-Mari Peltier of the National Grape & Wine Initiative is uncertain what would happen to her organization if the House of Representatives fails to pass the 2012 Farm Bill.
Washington, D.C.—The United States Congress has taken its biennial break and will not reconvene until after the Nov. 6 election. Unfinished business on the table includes the 2012 Farm Bill, of vital importance to the U.S. grape and wine industry as well as thousands of other farmers and agricultural interests.

Approved in June by the U.S. Senate, the 500-plus-page bill stalled in the House of Representatives, in large part because of Tea Party objections to funding for the federal food stamp program included within the Farm Bill.

The 2008 Farm Bill (which overrode a 2007 veto by then-President George W. Bush) provided for programs benefitting the U.S. grape and wine industry, as detailed in in Wines & Vines by Bill Nelson, then chairman of WineAmerica, the industry’s national lobbying association.

The 2008 bill included substantial monies for specialty crops including:
• Specialty Crop Block Grants,
• The National Clean Plant Network,
• Pest and disease management for specialty crops,
• The Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI),
• Organic agriculture research and extension,
• Value-added market development grants,
• Conservation innovation grants (EQIP) and
• The market access program.

Organizations react
The National Grape & Wine Initiative (NGWI), which develops research grant applications for funding, says grape research faces an uncertain future should the 2012 Farm Bill fail. NGWI president Jean-Mari Peltier explained that with an annual budget of less than $50 million, SCRI is not considered to have a “baseline.” Programs without baselines are not continued in a simple Farm Bill extension.

In a Sacramento Bee editorial, Peltier explained the importance of the Farm Bill, and the difficulties it faces:

“Not only must Congress act, it must pass the new 2012 Farm Bill rather than merely opt to extend the 2008 measure as a stopgap approach. Otherwise, there will be no mandatory research funding for specialty crops, leaving fruit, vegetable, nursery and nut farmers out in the cold.

“This may be a challenge, because the 2012 Farm Bill currently before Congress contains numerous elements, including such politically charged provisions on commodity support, food stamps, and conservation programs.” Read the entire article here.

Peltier remains hopeful that the Farm Bill will win approval before the end of the congressional session this year. “They could do it as a lame duck,” she said, but admitted, “We’re concerned about the timing.…We’ve tried to organize nationally, developing projects of long-term importance, like trunk diseases. We’ve come too far to let it fall apart.”

WineAmerica chief operating officer Cary Greene conceded, “Nothing’s going to happen until after the election. We want to see the bill passed. An extension won’t work for us. There’s no budget baseline for the wine industry.”

Greene predicted that when Congress returns after the election, “The food stamp program is going to continue as-is. What we’re debating is the type of programs like the wine industry. We’re concerned about programs like the specialty crops and research grants.”

Jennifer Montgomery, WineAmerica’s director of grassroots and political affairs, told Wines & Vines that U.S. House majority leader “John Boehner said today they’ll deal with it after the election.

“Our programs’ mandatory funding will run out Sept. 30. There’s no baseline, and they’d have to rely on funding through the Appropriations Committee” if Congress chooses to extend the existing bill rather than pass new legislation.

Some 37 programs in the Farm Bill will face defunding, she said. “It is a disaster. It’s unprecedented, what’s gone on. There are no guarantees how they will fund unauthorized programs.”

WineAmerica, she explained, works with other members of the Specialty Crops Farm Bill Alliance (SCFBA), a coalition of 120 organizations. SCFBA participated in the recent rally in Washington, D.C., urging swift passage of the bill. “I don’t know what the next step is for the grassroots. We’re pretty much at the end of the rope with what we can do.”

‘Keep the pressure on Congress’
Although many programs will officially be defunded Sept. 30, “People won’t feel it” if the lame duck session does eventually pass the 2012 Farm Bill before time runs out, explained Rayne Pegg, manager of the federal policy division of the California Farm Bureau Federation (CFBF.)

Pegg also supported the bill in an article for the CFBF’s AgAlert newsletter.

“We know we’ll be facing fewer dollars next year, the way the current climate is going,” she told Wines & Vines. “We have to recognize that.”

The California Association of Winegrape Growers (CAWG) also took a strong stance in its most recent newsletter:

“CAWG also supports swift Congressional action, which is vital to continuing the many research, pest-management and trade-assistance programs that benefit specialty crop producers who do not receive federal subsidies.

Winegrape growers depend on Farm Bill-funded programs such as the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service to prevent, manage and eradicate invasive pests. Initiatives like the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program address food safety and production issues for specialty crop growers.

The 2012 Farm Bill also would continu e to provide targeted trade assistance to specialty growers through the Technical Assistance for Specialty Crops program, helping to open new export markets.”

The idea of starting over with a new bill next year, with a new cast in the House and Senate and a new learning curve, is something no one wants to consider. Keeping the pressure on the lame ducks is the only way to fly.

SHARE »
Close
 
Currently no comments posted for this article.
 
CURRENT NEWS INDEX »


 
Wines & Vines Home
 
866.453.9701 | 415.453.9700 | Fax: 415.453.2517
65 Mitchell Blvd., Ste. A San Rafael, CA 94903
info@winesandvines.com
Wine Industry Metrics
 
Off-Premise Sales » Month   12 Months  
March 2015 $622 million
7%
$7,995 million
5%
March 2014 $582 million $7,588 million
     
Direct-to-Consumer Shipments » Month   12 Months  
March 2015 $252 million
19%
$1,863 million
14%
March 2014 $213 million $1,634 million
     
Winery Job Index » Month   12 Months  
March 2015 356
22%
243
16%
March 2014 292 210
     
 
MORE » Released on 04.15.2015
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Direct To Consumer
Wine Shipping Report
2015
 
Download full report »
 
 

Practical Winery & Vineyard Library
 
Search the PWV archive »
 
 

CALENDAR
  • April 26-28
     
    Sommelier Summit
     
  • April 29 - May 2
     
    International Wine Judging
     
  • May 1
     
    Sonoma County Barrel Auction
     
  • May 2
     
    Monterey County Winemakers' Celebration
     
  • MORE »
 

READER COMMENTS
 
Article: Bedroom Communities Seek Vineyard AVA »
 
Why not just bottle under a vineyard designation? The bond will have a city or...
Reader: Guest
 
Article: Is Organic Grape Growing Possible in the East? »
 
FWIW, We make a few wines from a certified Organic vineyard growing cabernet franc, merlot,...
Reader: southoldfc
 
Article: Specialty Tanks Encourage Oak Extraction »
 
According to the manufacturer, the logs are made through compression and not with a binding...
Reader: Andrew Adams
 
Article: Specialty Tanks Encourage Oak Extraction »
 
What is the bonding agent of the Pressed Oak Logs?
Reader: Guest
 
Article: Is Organic Grape Growing Possible in the East? »
 
Some Long Island, NY, vineyard farmers are already using nearly organic methods. They have worked...
Reader: envcat
 
 


Directory/Buyer's Guide — Your Wine Industry Marketplace
 
 
WINERY SEARCH
 
 
Advanced Search »
SUPPLIER SEARCH
   by Product
 by Company Name or Brand
 
Browse by Category »
2015 Directory/Buyer's Guide
The Wines & Vines Directory and Buyer's Guide
 
 
EXPANDED ONLINE SEARCH INCLUDED WITH PURCHASE
 
ORDER NOW »
 
LEARN MORE »
 
 
Wines & Vines Magazine
 
 
LEARN MORE »
 
SUBSCRIBE »
 
Digital Edition Now Available!
Wines & Vines Digital Edition Now Available
 
LEARN MORE »
 
ORDER NOW »
 
 
The Wines & Vines Online Marketing System
 
The Industry Standard winery marketing application
 
FREE LIVE DEMO »
 
VIEW VIDEO »
 
 
 
 
Latest Job Listings
 Tasting Room Sales Per...
 Sebastopol, CA
DTC, Tasting Room and Retai
 Account Manager For Th...
 Boston, MA
Sales and Marketing
 Stephen Ross Wine Cell...
 San Luis Obispo, CA
Cellar, Lab and Production
 Winemaker/Cellar Maste...
 Southeastern, WI
Winemaker/Enologist
 Warehouse Associate (P...
 Paso Robles, CA
DTC, Tasting Room and Retai
 2015 Harvest Interns
 Dayton, OR
Cellar, Lab and Production
 Harvest Cellar Workers
 Napa, CA
Winemaker/Enologist
 Sales Representative
 Multiple Openings, CO
Sales and Marketing
 Shipping & Receiving C...
 Rutherford, CA
General Administration and
 Experienced Fine Wine ...
 Ft. Myers, FL
Sales and Marketing
 
More Job Listings >>
Follow Us On:
 
 





Home  |  About Us  |  Editors  |  Subscribe  |  Print Edition  |  Digital Edition

Advertise  |  Site Map  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy
 
 
Copyright © 2001-2015 by Wine Communications Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
No material may be reproduced without written permission of the Publisher.
Wines&Vines does not assume any responsibility for any unsolicited manuscripts or materials.