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House committee doubles proposed floral funds

The House Appropriations Committee has recommended allotting $500,000 to a key floral industry research fund — doubling the amount that the Society of American Florists members lobbied for during Congressional Action Days, according to a news release. Members of the committee wrote that their recommendation would allow the Floriculture and Nursery Research Initiative “to expand research capacity.”

“The committee values the importance of the floral and horticulture industry, as floral and nursery crops are the third largest domestic crop in value,” reads the report. “The FNRI is focused on addressing and solving the industry’s challenges and needs.”

Both during and after Congressional Actions Days, floral industry members worked hard to educate lawmakers on the valuable role FNRI plays in industry research, and the importance of the floral industry to the overall U.S. economy. The $500,000 allotment represents a nearly 11 percent increase to the FNRI budget, but the money isn’t secure yet. The recommendation will have to be approved by the Senate.

“This is really big news,” said Drew Gruenburg, SAF’s chief operation officer, in the release. “We have it in writing that Congress values the industry. It shows the power of constituent involvement.”

FNRI is a partnership among the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service, the floriculture and nursery industry, including SAF and AmericanHort, and the academic community.