Mr. LUCAS. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume. [Page: H3907]
While I appreciate the interest of the gentlemen in advancing shellfish fishermen in their districts, I think the premise of their amendment is wrong. While other definitions of specialty crops may have included shellfish, the definition under the Specialty Crops Competitiveness Act was designed specifically for fruit, vegetable, and horticulture producers. The programs under this act were new, so nothing that shellfish were previously eligible for had been taken away by them. Being animals,
shellfish have simply not been included in the program specifically designed for plant products.
Now, while some minor aspects of a limited number of programs developed under the Specialty Crops Competitiveness Act may be generic enough that the addition of animal species would not be overly problematic, this definition has been used multiple times since 2004 in a variety of plant protection laws; and as has been pointed out to the amendment sponsors, the simple modification of the definition they are seeking would create potentially massive confusion in a variety of critical programs.
Therefore, as fond as I am of both authors, and as appreciative as I am of the product that they are attempting to endeavor, I must respectfully request that we oppose the amendment.
With that, Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.
Mr. COURTNEY. Again, first of all, I just want to salute the great work the chairman of the committee has done. It has been magnificent to see regular order in this Congress.
Secondly, I would just point out that the 2004 specialty crop law was amended in the last farm bill in 2008 to add horticulture. So again, what was done in 2004 is hardly a sacred text. We have the ability to, again with good reason and evidence, to amend this law. And again, I think given the history of it pre-2004, this is not an unreasonable change.
To help make that point, I yield to my good friend, the gentleman from Virginia (Mr. Wittman), for such time as he may consume.