Members of United Fresh’s Government Relations Council, Board of Directors, and United FreshPAC Advisory Committee met in our nation’s capital February 14-16 to discuss policy and regulatory issues most relevant to the fresh produce industry including immigration, trade, nutrition, food safety and taxes.
Attendees were provided the most recent information on presidential actions including executive orders, as well as current and projected relevant legislative activities. Each update was followed by in-depth discussions among members of policy needs and priorities for the association.
The group of volunteer leaders met with more than two dozen key U.S. Representatives and U.S. Senate offices with primary influence on those critical issues. Including, congressional offices in House and Senate leadership, as well as the offices of Members of Congress who are on the House Agriculture, Judiciary, and Energy and Commerce Committees. In the Senate, United Fresh members met with the offices of Senators who are on the Agriculture, Judiciary, Appropriations and Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committees.
Key messages that United Fresh members shared on the Hill included:
- The fresh produce industry needs an immigration policy that provides legal status for the current workforce and provides a future workforce; legislation that emphasizes enforcement but does not also provide an effective ag labor program is unacceptable;
- Federal nutrition programs that promote fresh fruit and vegetable consumption by children and under-served populations must be protected;
- Any changes to trade policy must ensure fair and free trade;
- Implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) must address federal policy that places unfair liability burdens on fresh fruit and vegetable providers; and
- Updates to federal tax policy must not cause disruption to key export/import markets.
United Fresh industry members and co-host National Potato Council came together to welcome new members of Congress, influential Congressional Committee Members, and key congressional staffers. Guests included a wide array of Members of Congress including Chairman Michael Conaway (R-TX) and Ranking Member Collin Peterson (D-MN), House Agriculture Committee, Representative Ted Yoho (R-FL); Representative Jimmy Panetta (D-CA); Representative Jim Costa (D-CA).
The event showcased a beautiful display of fresh produce as well as samples of fresh fruits and vegetables that guests could take home. A special thank you to the United Fresh members below for supporting the Power of Fresh produce delivery program allowing our industries presence to the shown – and tasted!
- A. Duda & Sons, Inc.
- American Mushroom Institute
- Christopher Ranch, LLC
- Del Monte Fresh Produce, N.A., Inc.
- Florida Tomato Exchange
- L & M
- Mission Produce, Inc.
- National Potato Council
- New York Apple Sales, Inc.
- Sunkist Growers, Inc.
- Tanimura & Antle
- Texas International Produce Association
- Fresh Produce Distributed By: Coastal Sunbelt Produce
United Fresh will be reaching out to members throughout the year to contact their Members of Congress on critical industry issues, both in Washington, D.C. and in congressional districts. Make sure to mark your calendars for the 2017 Washington Conference, September 18-20!
For updates on legislation that affects our industry, join for the United Fresh Grassroots Action Network.