American Fruit and Vegetable asked Congress to respond to this critical problem before food shortages occurred. In response, Congress launched a pilot program advocated by American Fruit and Vegetable contained in the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008. The pilot allowed program crop producers in seven states (Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin) to enroll in the pilot and plant selected fruit and vegetables FOR PROCESSING on base acres, without harming the land owners ability to go back into subsidized crops the following year. Subsidy payments were NOT paid on those acres planted to fruits and vegetables. Crops that were limited in the pilot program were cucumbers, green peas, lima beans, pumpkins, snap beans, sweet corn and tomatoes. Eligible PTPP acreage was capped at various levels in each of the seven pilot states and the total acres could not exceed 75,000 acres for all seven combined. The Pilot program proved successful and with passage of the 2012 Farm Bill fruit and vegetable planting restrictions were eliminated.
As of December 2011, language regarding USDA's rule proposal set out in the Agriculture Appropriations Bill, directed the USDA to maintain current long standing tomato paste crediting. Congress also directed USDA to not set limits on servings of potatoes, corn and lima beans in the School Lunch Program. American Fruit is supportive of these common sense outcomes.
American Fruit and Vegetable continues to work with USDA to increase entitlement purchase of fruits and vegetables using Section 6, Section 32, and Section 416 funds, and to make these products available to comport with New Meal Pattern Requirements and to help meet By American Requirements. American Fruit and Vegetable advocates to USDA to develop timely contracting practices upon which industry can depend so that a sufficient supply of foods meeting USDA's unique specifications can be packed in a timely manner. American Fruit and Vegetable advocates to USDA to consider purchasing bonus product processed to commercial specifications closest to USDA Foods specifications. These reforms would allow more American grown fruits and vegetables to be distributed and fewer imported similar products