All Eyes on the Farm Bill


This September, Congress is set to vote on the first Farm Bill in the past five years, and it’s an important one for specialty crops, according to Alyssa Houtby, Government Affairs Director for the North American Blueberry Council. 

Houtby, who joined the Council earlier this spring, leads the Council’s advocacy efforts and is especially aware of the importance of this year’s Farm Bill. 

In her role with NABC, she will be working in collaboration with Monument Advocacy and says that presence in Washington, D.C. will allow the Council to be aware of and act upon issues and opportunities right away. 

“There’s so much opportunity in the government relations and advocacy space for NABC, and there’s a long list of topics we can address when we have our ear to the ground,” she says. “Now, we’ll be there to seize opportunities in real time.”

Farm Bill

The NABC is a member of the Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance, a national coalition of more than 200 specialty crop organizations. The group worked to craft a list of recommendations for the 2023 Farm Bill. These recommendations were built around a set of core principles, including healthy Americans, competitiveness and sustainability, trade and foreign competition, research and innovation, and natural resources and climate.

Houtby explains that the current Farm Bill expires in September and while it is always a big question politically, there is a lot of bipartisan support right now. 

Nutrition programs comprise a large portion of the Farm Bill, and the cost associated with the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program can be a hot button item, she says. 

Additionally, Houtby advocates for funding in research and innovation for things such as new varieties of blueberries to account for changing climates, for pest and disease resistant crops, and modernization of delivery procedures to get product to feeding programs such as food banks, WIC (Women, Infants, and Children), and school lunches. 

Blueberry Hill Climb

Houtby invites all blueberry industry growers and advocates to the Blueberry Hill Climb in Washington, D.C. April 16-18. Attendees will be advocating for additional research funding, improved school nutrition programs, and increased Farm Bill resources, things she says growers and the industry need in order to remain successful and competitive.

Register online at

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