YAKIMA, Wash.--Senator Patty Murray stopped in Yakima today to talk about the new version of the Farm Bill. This version of the farm bill provides farmers of specialty crops, like apples, apricots and asparagus, with research and marketing aid for the first time. The bill gives specialty crop farmers access to programs that cost a total of three billion dollars. The aid allows Central Washington farmers to stay competitive in an ever-expanding--and increasingly difficult--global economy.
"Whether it's grapes or apples, we know we have to be able to sell in an international market," said Sen. Murray. "For the first time ever, this country is behind that effort."
"Rather than seeing direct subsidies we're gonna see the ability to bolster research [and] market access," said farmer Brenton Roy of Prosser.
Washington exported almost three billion dollars in crops in 2007. With the farm bill's help, they expect that figure to rise.