IRVINE, Calif. (Nov. 7, 2011)—Presidential candidate and former-Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney made a special phone call to the Western Growers 86th Annual Meeting in San Diego today to discuss agriculture’s top issues with leaders in the fresh produce industry. During the conference call, Romney reassured farmers who are currently facing serious challenges securing a legal, stable work force to produce the fresh food America depends on.
“I am committed to having enough workers to get our economy going and businesses in business,” Romney told the group of Arizona and California growers, packers and shippers during the conference call.
Romney said he plans to give states the power to secure adequate visas for agricultural workers and said simply that the federal government and “bureaucrats in Washington” are currently getting in the way.
Western Growers President & CEO Tom Nassif said government over-regulation is stifling the fresh produce industry. He said the industry is expanding businesses to other foreign countries and not to the U.S. Nassif asked Romney what he would do about government regulations as president.
Romney’s answer to that is to “go after regulations” and reduce the federal work force by at least 10 percent. The job for regulators“is also to encourage growth of industry,” Romney said during the call. “That’s what regulators should be doing.”
Romney said he wants to reinforce American industries that are competitive. “In agriculture, we are very competitive,” he said. “Yours is one of the industries where we’re able to compete with the nations around the world.”
Western Growers has not endorsed any presidential candidates and typically does not endorse particular candidates until after the primaries.
About Western Growers:
Western Growers is an agricultural trade association whose members from Arizona and California grow, pack and ship 90 percent of the fresh fruits, nuts and vegetables grown in California and 75 percent of those commodities in Arizona. This totals about half of the nation’s fresh produce. Western Growers is headquartered in Irvine, Calif.