(March 18) U.S. Apple Association members headed to Capitol Hill March 14 to lobby Con-gress on a wide range of industry issues, foremost of which was rallying support for $100 million in emergency market loss assistance for apple growers.

The money is in the Senate version of the farm bill, and industry leaders were working to keep the language as part of the final bill when the legislation emerges from conference committee.

Reps. Richard “Doc” Hastings, R-Wash., and Maurice Hinchey, D-N.Y., were circulating a let-ter of support for the apple assistance measure in the House of Representatives. In the Senate, Carl Levin, D-Mich.; Patty Murray, D-Wash.; and Gordon Smith, R-Ore., were sponsoring a com-panion letter.

Dianne Miller, legislative director for Hinchey, said March 14 that she had collected 45 signa-tures of House members on a letter of support for the measure.

That was before U.S. Apple members had lobbied Congress later that day, and she said she ex-pected the number of signatures on the letter of support to rise.

Miller said the conference committee for the farm bill had not yet come to the apple provision in the commodity title of the farm bill. She said support in the Senate appears fairly strong for the apple market loss assistance, but she was more cautious on the House side because some mem-bers oppose emergency payments in the farm bill.

Other issues pressed by U.S. Apple members include full enforcement of the anti-dumping ruling against Chinese apple concentrate, support of the government’s multimillion-dollar health campaign to encourage produce consumption and lobbying for increased funding of the Market Access Program.