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February 4, 2014 | 12:36 PM

Breaking News: The U.S. Senate today passed a H.R. 2642, the Agricultural Act of 2014, which sets farm policy and spending levels for the next five years. It's a sweeping bill that ultimately affects all Americans, and there are parts of it which directly affect the wine industry.

“The Farm Bill helps California vintners in the very competitive world marketplace for wine," Wine Institute President and CEO Bobby Koch said. "This is long overdue, and we’re pleased that with its passage, California wine promotion around the world will not be interrupted."

According to the California Wine Institute - which was active in working with legislators, the California Congressional delegation and the Specialty Crop Alliance to ensure its passage - the bill:

  • Includes some $200 million annually for all crops as part of the Market Access Program (MAP) - with $80 million of new funding for specialty crop research, which includes winegrapes. Wine Institute receives cost-share funding as administrator of California’s wine export program through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service - somewhere in the neighborhood of $7 million a year. More than 170 wineries participate in the program.
     
  • Increased funding for Specialty Crop Block Grants by $30 million, from $55 million to $85 million, over the next five years.
     
  • Funds the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Plant Pest and Disease Program, protecting agriculture from plant pests and disease threats.


 

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