Text: H.R.3242 — 108th Congress (2003-2004)All Information (Except Text)

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Public Law No: 108-465 (12/21/2004)

 
[108th Congress Public Law 465]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]


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[DOCID: f:publ465.108]


[[Page 3881]]

               SPECIALTY CROPS COMPETITIVENESS ACT OF 2004

[[Page 118 STAT. 3882]]

Public Law 108-465
108th Congress

                                 An Act


 
To ensure an abundant and affordable supply of highly nutritious fruits, 
    vegetables, and other specialty crops for American consumers and 
international markets by enhancing the competitiveness of United States-
    grown specialty crops, and for other purposes. <<NOTE: Dec. 21, 
                         2004 -  [H.R. 3242]>> 

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled, <<NOTE: Specialty Crops 
Competitiveness Act of 2004. Agriculture. 7 USC 3101 note.>> 

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``Specialty Crops Competitiveness Act 
of 2004''.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS AND PURPOSE. <<NOTE: 7 USC 1621 note.>> 

    (a) Findings.--Congress finds the following:
            (1) A secure domestic food supply is a national security 
        imperative for the United States.
            (2) A competitive specialty crop industry in the United 
        States is necessary for the production of an abundant, 
        affordable supply of highly nutritious fruits, vegetables, and 
        other specialty crops, which are vital to the health and well-
        being of all Americans.
            (3) Increased consumption of specialty crops will provide 
        tremendous health and economic benefits to both consumers and 
        specialty crop growers.
            (4) Specialty crop growers believe that there are numerous 
        areas of Federal agriculture policy that could be improved to 
        promote increased consumption of specialty crops and increase 
        the competitiveness of producers in the efficient production of 
        affordable specialty crops in the United States.
            (5) As the globalization of markets continues, it is 
        becoming increasingly difficult for United States producers to 
        compete against heavily subsidized foreign producers in both the 
        domestic and foreign markets.
            (6) United States specialty crop producers also continue to 
        face serious tariff and non-tariff trade barriers in many export 
        markets.

    (b) Purpose.--It is the purpose of this Act to make necessary 
changes in Federal agriculture policy to accomplish the goals of 
increasing fruit, vegetable, and nut consumption and improving the 
competitiveness of United States specialty crop producers.

SEC. 3. DEFINITIONS. <<NOTE: 7 USC 1621 note.>> 

    In this Act:

[[Page 118 STAT. 3883]]

            (1) The term ``specialty crop'' means fruits and vegetables, 
        tree nuts, dried fruits, and nursery crops (including 
        floriculture).
            (2) The term ``State'' means the several States, the 
        District of Columbia, and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.
            (3) The term ``State department of agriculture'' means the 
        agency, commission, or department of a State government 
        responsible for agriculture within the State.

              TITLE I--STATE ASSISTANCE FOR SPECIALTY CROPS

SEC. 101. SPECIALTY CROP BLOCK GRANTS. <<NOTE: 7 USC 1621 note.>> 

    (a) Availability and Purpose of Grants.--Subject to the 
appropriation of funds to carry out this section, the Secretary of 
Agriculture shall make grants to States for each of the fiscal years 
2005 through 2009 to be used by State departments of agriculture solely 
to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops.
    (b) Grants Based on Value of Production.--Subject to subsection (c), 
the amount of the grant for a fiscal year to a State under this section 
shall bear the same ratio to the total amount appropriated pursuant to 
the authorization of appropriations in subsection (i) for that fiscal 
year as the value of specialty crop production in the State during the 
preceding calendar year bears to the value of specialty crop production 
during the preceding calendar year in all States whose application for a 
grant for that fiscal year is accepted by the Secretary under subsection 
(f).
    (c) Minimum Grant Amount.--Subject to the appropriation of 
sufficient funds to carry out this subsection, each State shall receive 
at least $100,000 each fiscal year as a grant under this section 
notwithstanding the amount calculated under subsection (b) for the 
State.
    (d) <<NOTE: Regulations.>> Eligibility.--To be eligible to receive a 
grant under this section, a State department of agriculture shall 
prepare and submit, for approval by the Secretary of Agriculture, an 
application at such time, in such a manner, and containing such 
information as the Secretary shall require by regulation, including--
            (1) a State plan that meets the requirements of subsection 
        (e);
            (2) an assurance that the State will comply with the 
        requirements of the plan; and
            (3) an assurance that grant funds received under this 
        section shall supplement the expenditure of State funds in 
        support of specialty crops grown in that State, rather than 
        replace State funds.

    (e) Plan Requirements.--The State plan shall identify the lead 
agency charged with the responsibility of carrying out the plan and 
indicate how the grant funds will be utilized to enhance the 
competitiveness of specialty crops.
    (f) Review of Application.--In reviewing the application of a State 
submitted under subsection (d), the Secretary of Agriculture shall 
ensure that the State plan would carry out the purpose of grant program, 
as specified in subsection (a). The Secretary may accept or reject 
applications for a grant under this section.
    (g) Effect of Noncompliance.--If the Secretary of Agriculture, after 
reasonable notice to a State, finds that there has

[[Page 118 STAT. 3884]]

been a failure by the State to comply substantially with any provision 
or requirement of the State plan, the Secretary may disqualify, for one 
or more years, the State from receipt of future grants under this 
section.
    (h) Audit Requirements.--For each year that a State receives a grant 
under this section, the State shall conduct an audit of the expenditures 
of grant funds by the State. <<NOTE: Deadline.>> Not later than 30 days 
after the completion of the audit, the State shall submit a copy of the 
audit to the Secretary of Agriculture.

    (i) Authorization of Appropriations.--For each of the fiscal years 
2005 through 2009, there is authorized to be appropriated to the 
Secretary of Agriculture $44,500,000 to make grants under this section.

                  TITLE II--SPECIALTY CROP ADVANCEMENT

SEC. 201. TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE FOR SPECIALTY CROPS.

    For each of the fiscal years 2005 through 2009, there is authorized 
to be appropriated to the Secretary of Agriculture $2,000,000 to carry 
out section 3205 of the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 
(7 U.S.C. 5680). Amounts appropriated pursuant to this authorization of 
appropriations shall be in addition to any other funds made available to 
carry out such section.

SEC. 202. <<NOTE: 7 USC 7712a.>> REDUCTION IN BACKLOG OF AGRICULTURAL 
            EXPORT PETITIONS.

    (a) Reduction Efforts.--To the maximum extent practicable, the 
Secretary of Agriculture shall endeavor to reduce the backlog in the 
number of applications for permits for the export of United States 
agricultural commodities. In achieving such reduction, the Secretary 
shall not dilute or diminish existing personnel resources that are 
currently managing sanitary and phytosanitary issues for--
            (1) United States agricultural commodities for which 
        exportation is sought; and
            (2) interdiction and control of pests and diseases, 
        including for the evaluation of pest and disease concerns of 
        foreign agricultural commodities for which importation is 
        sought.

    (b) Report.--The Secretary of Agriculture shall submit to the 
Committee on Agriculture of the House of Representatives and the 
Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry of the Senate an 
annual report specifying, for the year covered by the report--
            (1) the total number of applications processed to 
        completion;
            (2) the number of backlog applications processed to 
        completion;
            (3) the percentage of backlog applications processed to 
        completion; and
            (4) the number of backlog applications remaining.

SEC. 203. REPORT ON SANITARY AND PHYTOSANITARY EXPORT ISSUES.

    Not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, 
the Secretary of Agriculture shall submit to the Committee on 
Agriculture of the House of Representatives and the Committee on 
Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry of the Senate a report

[[Page 118 STAT. 3885]]

on significant sanitary and phytosanitary issues that affect the export 
of specialty crops.

                   TITLE III--SPECIALTY CROP RESEARCH

SEC. 301. METHYL BROMIDE ALTERNATIVES. <<NOTE: 7 USC 5925 note.>> 

    (a) Priority.--The Secretary of Agriculture shall elevate the 
priority of current methyl bromide alternative research and extension 
activities and reexamine the risks and benefits of extending the phase-
out deadline in effect on the date of the enactment of this Act, 
including the estimated cost to the grower or processor associated with 
any alternatives proposed.
    (b) Authorization of Appropriations.--For each of the fiscal years 
2005 through 2009, there is authorized to be appropriated to the 
Secretary of Agriculture $5,000,000 to carry out this section.

SEC. 302. NATIONAL SPECIALTY CROP RESEARCH PROGRAM.

    Section 1672(e) of the Food, Agriculture, Conservation, and Trade 
Act of 1990 (7 U.S.C. 5925(e)) is amended by adding at the end of the 
following new paragraph:
            ``(45) Specialty crop research.--Research and extension 
        grants may be made under this section for the purpose of 
        improving the efficiency, productivity, and profitability of 
        specialty crop production in the United States.''.

SEC. 303. SPECIALTY CROP COMMITTEE.

    The National Agricultural Research, Extension, and Teaching Policy 
Act of 1977 is amended by inserting after section 1408 (7 U.S.C. 3123) 
the following new section:

``SEC. 1408A. SPECIALTY CROP COMMITTEE. <<NOTE: 7 USC 3123a.>> 

    ``(a) <<NOTE: Deadline.>> Establishment.--Not later than 90 days 
after the date of the enactment of the Specialty Crops Competitiveness 
Act of 2004, the executive committee of the Advisory Board shall 
establish, and appoint the initial members of, a permanent specialty 
crops committee that will be responsible for studying the scope and 
effectiveness of research, extension, and economics programs affecting 
the specialty crop industry.

    ``(b) Members.--Individuals who are not members of the Advisory 
Board may be appointed as members of the specialty crops committee. 
Members of the specialty crops committee shall serve at the discretion 
of the executive committee.
    ``(c) Annual Committee Report.--Not later than 180 days after the 
establishment of the specialty crops committee, and annually thereafter, 
the specialty crops committee shall submit to the Advisory Board a 
report containing the findings of its study under subsection (a). The 
specialty crops committee shall include in each report recommendations 
regarding the following:
            ``(1) Measures designed to improve the efficiency, 
        productivity, and profitability of specialty crop production in 
        the United States.
            ``(2) Measures designed to improve competitiveness in 
        research, extension, and economics programs affecting the 
        specialty crop industry.
            ``(3) Programs that would--
                    ``(A) enhance the quality and shelf-life of fresh 
                fruits and vegetables, including their taste and 
                appearance;

[[Page 118 STAT. 3886]]

                    ``(B) develop new crop protection tools and expand 
                the applicability and cost-effectiveness of integrated 
                pest management;
                    ``(C) prevent the introduction of foreign invasive 
                pests and diseases;
                    ``(D) develop new products and new uses of specialty 
                crops;
                    ``(E) develop new and improved marketing tools for 
                specialty crops;
                    ``(F) enhance food safety regarding specialty crops;
                    ``(G) improve mechanization of production practices; 
                and
                    ``(H) enhance irrigation techniques used in 
                specialty crop production.

    ``(d) Consideration by Secretary.--In preparing the annual budget 
recommendations for the Department of Agriculture, the Secretary shall 
take into consideration those findings and recommendations contained in 
the most-recent report of the specialty crops committee that are adopted 
by the Advisory Board.
    ``(e) Annual Report by Secretary.--In the budget material submitted 
to Congress by the Secretary in connection with the budget submitted 
pursuant to section 1105 of title 31, United States Code, for a fiscal 
year, the Secretary shall include a report describing how the Secretary 
addressed each recommendation of the specialty crops committee described 
in subsection (d).''.

                TITLE IV--PEST AND DISEASE RESPONSE FUND

SEC. 401. PEST AND DISEASE RESPONSE FUND. <<NOTE: 7 USC 8321.>> 

    (a) Establishment.--There is established on the books of the 
Treasury an account to be known as the ``Pest and Disease Response 
Fund''. There shall be deposited into the Fund any proceeds received by 
the Secretary of Agriculture as reimbursement for services provided by 
the Secretary using amounts in the Fund.
    (b) Availability.--Amounts in the Fund shall remain available until 
expended.
    (c) Use of Fund.--In implementing the Animal Health Protection Act 
(7 U.S.C. 8301 et seq.) and the Plant Protection Act (7 U.S.C. 7701 et 
seq.), the Secretary of Agriculture shall have complete discretion 
regarding the use of amounts in the Fund to support emergency 
eradication and research activities in response to economic and health 
threats posed by pests and diseases affecting agricultural commodities.
    (d) Authorization of Appropriations.--For each of the fiscal years 
2005 through 2009, there is authorized to be appropriated to the 
Secretary of Agriculture $1,000,000 for deposit in the Fund.

SEC. 402. IMPORT AND EXPORT REGULATION REVIEW.

    (a) <<NOTE: Contracts.>> Peer Review.--The Secretary of Agriculture 
shall enter into an agreement with the National Plant Board to obtain a 
peer review of the procedures and standards that govern the 
consideration of import and export requests under section 412 of the 
Plant Protection Act (7 U.S.C. 7712). The peer review shall be 
consistent with the guidance by the Office of Management and Budget 
pertaining to peer review and information quality.

[[Page 118 STAT. 3887]]

    (b) Elements of Review.--The peer review required by subsection (a) 
shall address, at a minimum--
            (1) the preparation of risk assessments; and
            (2) the sufficiency, type, and quality of data that should 
        be submitted to the Secretary of Agriculture.

    (c) Submission of Results.--The results of the peer review conducted 
under subsection (a) shall be submitted to the Secretary and Congress 
not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act.

SEC. 403. <<NOTE: Virginia.>> MAINTENANCE OF FREDERICKSBURG INSPECTION 
            TRAINING CENTER.

    For each of the fiscal years 2005 through 2009, there is authorized 
to be appropriated to the Secretary of Agriculture $1,500,000 for the 
maintenance of the Agricultural Marketing Service inspection training 
center in Fredericksburg, Virginia.

    Approved December 21, 2004.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY--H.R. 3242:
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HOUSE REPORTS: No. 108-750, Pt. 1 (Comm. on Agriculture).
CONGRESSIONAL RECORD, Vol. 150 (2004):
            Oct. 6, considered and passed House.
            Dec. 7, considered and passed Senate.
WEEKLY COMPILATION OF PRESIDENTIAL DOCUMENTS, Vol. 40 (2004):
            Dec. 21, Presidential statement.

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