Often called the champion of specialty crop interests in the Senate, Senate Agriculture Committee chairwoman Debbie Stabenow fits the bill as the keynote speaker the morning of Oct. 1 to the United Fresh Produce Association’s Washington Public Policy Conference.

Stabenow, D-Mich., will speak about the status of the farm bill, comprehensive immigration reform and other public policy issues, according to a news release from United Fresh.

“Chairwoman Stabenow is a strong supporter of the nation’s produce industry and has shown outstanding leadership for advancing the Farm Bill in the Senate, as well as her work on other important legislation,” Ray Gilmer, vice president of issues management and communication said in the release. “We look forward to hearing her views about how we can work with her and other lawmakers to ensure that the produce industry gets the support it needs on research, marketing, labor and so many other industry priorities.”

Stabenow helped increase funding to specialty crop programs in the farm bill passed by the U.S. Senate this year, including Specialty Crop Block Grants ($70 million), Specialty Crop Research Initiative ($50 million), Pest and Plant Disease mitigation ($65 million), Market Access Program ($200 million) and the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program ($150 million), according to the news release.

Stabenow help construct the 2013 Farm Bill passed by the Senate in June to build on the nearly $3 billion total commitment to specialty crop programs begun in the 2008 Farm Bill, according to the release.

For more information about the Washington Public Policy Conference, visit the United Fresh Produce Association website at www.unitedfresh.org/wppc. Questions can be directed to Angela Tiwari of United Fresh at atiwari@unitedfresh.org or 202-303-3416.