J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 9 POTATO GROWER 25 Farm Bill Agreement Reached By Congress The months-long debate finally ended following Republican concession on a plan to tighten restrictions on food stamps. The previous Farm Bill expired in September. The new agreement gives farmers some certainty ahead of the new Democratically controlled House of Representatives being inaugurated in January. The National Potato Council applauded the new bill and urged Congress to rati- fy it for presidential approval. “This new Farm Bill makes needed investments in specialty crop research, restores funding for vital trade programs and offers certainty to farmers for the next five years,” NPC CEO John Keeling said. “The potato industry strongly sup- ports this bill and urges Congress to send it to the President for his signature immediately.” The NPC cited four primary points in the bill that will assist specialty crop growers. Keeping the Technical Assistance for Specialty Crops (TASC) program operat- ing at its fully authorized level and enhancing the efficiency of its opera- tions to address foreign trade barriers. Ensuring the Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI) allows all specialty crops the opportunity to compete for its fully authorized level of $80 million annually in research funding. Supporting APHIS Pest and Disease Programs to ensure they keep pace with current and future threats. Reauthorization of the Specialty Crop Block Grant program. The National Potato Council is a found- ing member of the Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance that offers a unified voice for the fruit, vegetable, nut and related commodities in the Farm Bill. In addition, the bill extends eligibility for crop subsidies to farmers’ extended family members, including nieces, nephews and cousins. Not everyone is in favor of extension, reported Reuters, criticism stemming from stipulations already being too broad. Minnesota Certified Seed Potatoes When you buy Minnesota certified seed potatoes, you’re getting a history of high performance, high quality seed. Minnesota seed is grown on a wide range of soil types, from the rich black soils of the Red River Valley to the irrigated sands of Central Minnesota to the deep peat soils of East Central and Southern Minnesota. If you want a specific variety, we can grow it. www.mda.state.mn.us/potato For your free copy of the Minnesota Certified Seed Directory Call: 218-773-4956 MINNESOTA &HUWL¿ HG6HHG3RWDWR'LUHFWRU\ 2017 MINNESOTA Certified Seed Potato Directory 2018