This report discusses the background and issues regarding Asian soybean rust (ASR) that was discovered in the United States in an experimental field in Louisiana. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is coordinating a plan to deal with ASR that encompasses various USDA agencies, state land-grant universities, and industry participants. The arrival of ASR has implications for several public policies including pest control research (particularly the development of resistant varieties), pesticide regulation, disaster assistance, and crop insurance.
U.S. farmers grow more than 250 types of fruit, vegetable, tree nut, flower, ornamental nursery, and turfgrass crops in addition to the major bulk commodity crops. Although specialty crops are ineligible for the federal commodity price and income support programs, they are eligible for other types of U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) support, such as crop insurance, disaster assistance, and, under certain conditions, ad hoc market loss assistance payments. This report describes the federal programs of importance to the specialty crop sector, and provides the most recent funding information available for them.