WASHINGTON, D.C. – A bill to fund the federal government through Nov. 21 has passed the House and includes language to promote agricultural research for specialty crops, including apples.

U.S. Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-4th District, announced the passage of House Resolution 4378 and inclusion of the specialty crop research initiative provision.

The initiative “is critical in supporting America’s agricultural research,” said Newhouse. “Universities and commodity groups representing Washington agriculture are eager to pursue world-class specialty crop research, but provisions left out of the 2018 Farm Bill left (initiative) recipients at a disadvantage.

“I was proud to work as a member of the Appropriations Committee to include this language to give certainty to these institutions as they compete for federal grant funding and continue their groundbreaking research at facilities throughout Washington and the United States.”

The 2018 Farm Bill inadvertently left out language allowing the secretary of agriculture to waive the match requirement within (the initiative) for projects considered to be of significant value to agriculture stakeholders. The waiver language was maintained for other research programs, leaving specialty crop research as the only program where the secretary does not have waiver authority, Newhouse said.

The absence placed many projects in jeopardy and created confusion for stakeholders.

Washington State University, a national leader in specialty crop research, approached Newhouse about the omission.

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