USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is changing the name of the Fruit and Vegetable Program to the Specialty Crops Program effective immediately. Because of the expansion of products covered, the program name is being changed to be more inclusive.

For example, although most of the products that all the Divisions work with on a daily basis are fresh and processed fruits and vegetables, the Promotion and Economics Division oversees research and promotion programs for honey, peanuts, paper and paper packaging, softwood lumber, popcorn, and Christmas trees, along with traditional fruits and vegetables such as mangoes and potatoes.  Similarly, the Marketing Order and Agreement Division oversees marketing orders for almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, pistachios and spearmint oil, and is currently working with the pecan industry as they explore a possible new order.  The Market News Division issues daily reports on cut flower prices. 

The change brings the program into line with a Congressional definition.  “The term 'specialty crop' means fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, and horticulture and nursery crops (including floriculture).”

The name change will not have an effect on operations.  No staff changes or reorganization will occur as a result of the change.