The national press conference in Washington, DC featured leading business association CEOs discussing the critical need for immigration reform to drive job creation and economic growth in the United States. Local events across the country, including, among other states, Arkansas, California, Indiana, Illinois, Louisiana, Minnesota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin featured representatives from state and local employer associations, state farm bureaus, local businesses, and other industry leaders. The coordinated events aim to show that, across industries, sectors, and geographies, the business community needs our immigration laws to be modernized.
A coalition of leading business, manufacturing, and agriculture groups -- including Western Growers, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Partnership for a New American Economy, Business Roundtable, the American Farm Bureau Federation, AmericanHort, and the National Association of Manufacturers -- will launch a Day of Action for immigration reform with a national press conference in Washington, D.C., and events in more than 60 congressional districts across 25 states calling on Congress and the Administration to work together to enact immigration reform.
This afternoon, Western Growers' President and CEO Tom Nassif, and a group of agricultural leaders and producers, met with Vice President Joe Biden to discuss immigration reform. Legislative action to address our broken immigration system remains the top priority for agriculture this year. Agricultural leaders, along with representatives from the faith and law enforcement communities, emphasized their commitment to putting continued pressure on Congress to act.
Statement by Western Growers President and CEO Tom Nassif:
“Today, the House GOP Conference elected Representative Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) to serve as the next Majority Leader. Majority Leader-elect McCarthy represents the greater Bakersfield area in the San Joaquin Valley, which is one of the most productive agricultural regions in the world. We are very pleased to have our industry so well represented in the House Leadership structure. Majority Leader-elect McCarthy has provided critical leadership on a number of issues impacting the produce industry, including ensuring passage of a Farm Bill that recognizes the importance of fresh fruits, vegetables and tree nuts, ongoing work to negotiate a solution to our water crisis, and of course working to address the immigration needs of agriculture. Time is short and the problems our country and industry face are urgent. We look forward to working this year with the new Majority Leader to bring relief to our drought stricken farmers and to finally fix our broken immigration system.”
Statement of Dennis Nuxoll, Vice President of Federal Government Affairs for Western Growers, on the passage of the Emergency Drought Relief Act by the U.S. Senate:
“We are pleased that the drought bill has moved out of the Senate. The effort by Senators Feinstein and Boxer to convince their Republican and Democratic colleagues of California’s pressing need for action has been commendable, and we applaud that significant effort. We are also aware of Members of the California Republican House delegation to reach out to Senate Republicans to lend help and sincerely appreciate it.
It is our strong belief that this spirit of cooperation among the Democratic and Republican Members of the California delegation to move on this Senate bill will carry over into the conference between both chambers. Indeed, without such cooperation we know nothing will be accomplished.
Members of the Western Growers Board of Directors spent all this week in Washington. It was clear from every conversation we had on water that the concern over this issue has never been higher. Our board members, some of whom are suffering already from the effects of the drought, are all convinced that the leaders who are going to be part of the conference negotiations are all resolved to accomplish something for the greater good.
It is now time for solution-oriented work to begin in conference with the bill passed in the House of Representatives. It is our hope that the spirit of cooperation and bipartisanship prevail during that process.”
The American Cancer Society’s California Division and Western Growers announced today a first-time collaboration to raise awareness about cancer prevention tied to healthy eating choices and critically needed funds to help finish the fight. Western Growers has committed $100,000 over two years to help support American Cancer Society programs, services, advocacy and cancer research efforts.
President and CEO of Western Growers Tom Nassif released the following statement in response to the introduction today of the California Emergency Drought Relief Act of 2014:
“The state of California is facing potentially devastating drought conditions and Western Growers’ members and other producers across the state welcome the introduction of California Emergency Drought Relief Act of 2014 by Senators Feinstein and Boxer.
The California Emergency Drought Relief Act of 2014 provides congressional direction to federal agencies responsible for implementing federal regulations affecting operations of the Central Valley Project (CVP) and the State Water Project (SWP). The legislation mandates that for the duration of the current drought emergency that these agencies act with a sense of urgency and be as flexible as the law allows in order to minimize water supply reductions resulting from the application of those regulations. If enacted these changes would provide assistance to water users and our farmers who face critical shortages and as such Western Growers supports passage of this legislation in the Senate.
We hope that this bill will be promptly taken up and passed in the Senate so it can move quickly to a conference with the House bill passed last week. I believe if reasonable accommodation can be made between the two and merged into a single bill in a bipartisan effort, benefits can be realized by all California water users.
As we await Congressional action, we urge the Obama Administration to act with all due speed and exercise all discretion to facilitate water flow and transfer for the remainder of the year as precipitation falls.”
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE IRVINE, Calif. (February 7, 2014) -- Western Growers President and CEO Tom Nassif issued this statement following the signing of the Agriculture Act of 2014 by President Obama today in Michigan:
“On behalf of all the growers and members of Western Growers, I thank the President of the United States for signing into law the new five-year farm bill. On this occasion, I also want to express my deep thanks to Chairwoman Stabenow, Chairman Lucas, and Ranking Members Cochran and Peterson for the tremendous work they have done to complete this bill. Their hard work and the countless hours of work done by our industry champions in Congress -- especially our friends on the two Agriculture Committees -- has resulted in a good piece of legislation that will serve our industry well.
No bill, of course is perfect, but the hard work, fortitude and spirit of cooperation exhibited by all involved is a great example of what bipartisanship can accomplish. President Reagan used to talk about a shining city upon a hill and in a small way the farm bill serves as an important example of how legislation should and must be done in order to benefit us all. This farm bill is a product of tough negotiation, but it is also an example of what needs to be done more often in Congress -- all parties must work together and compromise for the greater good. I hope members of Congress point to the shining example of the farm bill as our nation grapples with other critical issues facing our industry, like immigration and the devastating drought we now face in California; all members of Congress need to focus on the greater good as they work cooperatively through problems.”
Statement by Western Growers president and CEO Tom Nassif on the release of the GOP Immigration Reform Standards:
“I applaud Speaker Boehner, Majority Leader Cantor, and Whip Kevin McCarthy for their efforts to move immigration forward in the House. The standards drafted by the leadership represent a commitment to reforming our immigration system in a manner that respects the rule of law while strengthening the ability of agriculture to remain competitive in the world market. We especially applaud the specific acknowledgement of agriculture’s unique needs and look forward to working towards crafting a long term solution.
Irvine Calif. (January 22, 2014) -- Western Growers President and CEO Tom Nassif released this statement in response to a press conference held in Bakersfield, Calif., today with Speaker John Boehner and California members of Congress House Majority Whip, Kevin McCarthy; Congressman David Valadao; and Congressman Devin Nunes who have proposed legislation to address the worsening drought in California:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
IRVINE -- The following is a statement by Western Growers’ President and CEO Tom Nassif on Governor Brown’s declaration of a drought emergency today:
“We appreciate the action taken by Governor Brown today. Drought conditions are wreaking havoc on farmers in California, especially in the San Joaquin Valley. The situation is dire and requires the full attention of state and federal leaders which is why the declaration is so important.
“Western Growers is extremely disappointed with USDA’s termination of the proposed National Marketing Agreement for Leafy Greens.
After investing hundreds of man hours in the development of a proactive approach that would have afforded leafy green producers across the country an opportunity to craft their own food safety programs with oversight from USDA and FDA, the Agency has opted to step back."
Citing Doug Ose’s long commitment to the agricultural community, Western Growers has announced its endorsement of Ose for California’s 7th Congressional District.
“California family farmers have every confidence in Doug Ose’s proven abilities as a solutions-oriented leader,” said Western Growers CEO Tom Nassif. “Doug has always placed the interests of his community first, along with those of the family farmers that support thousands of local jobs and provide families a healthy source of food everyday.”
America’s nearly four billion dollar winter vegetable harvest is in jeopardy. The Obama Administration needs to take immediate action to expedite pending foreign worker visa applications that have been stalled during the government shutdown.
This Friday, local fresh produce farmers will team with staff from Western Growers, an agriculture trade association based in Irvine, CA, which represents specialty crop growers in Arizona and California, and visit five local schools who received grants this year.
Western Growers Foundation presented fifty Arizona K-12 schools with $75,000 in grant money to create and sustain their own edible gardens. Each school received $1,500. The grants were provided through the Arizona Department of Agriculture as part of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Specialty Crop Block Grant. Pending completion of paperwork, the schools will receive their funds by the end of this month.