Now that the freshmen members of Congress have unpacked their boxes, settled into their offices and learned how to navigate the corridors of Capitol Hill, Western Growers’ Tom Nassif went back to Washington this week to meet with a few of them, as well as some congressional stalwarts. Talking points include concerns about a reliable water supply and drought relief, labor and immigration reform, school nutrition standards, the West Coast port strike and tax reform.
Nassif met with Arizona and California representatives on Tuesday and Wednesday following his keynote address at the annual meeting of the National Council of Agricultural Employers. His speech focused on ag tech innovation and ag labor in California, the current troubles over piece-rate compensation and the UFW’s attempt to unionize workers at Gerawan. He also spoke about looking for long-term solutions for agriculture with investments in advanced technology and in innovative startup tech companies which could help farming in the future in many ways, including some of its labor needs. In a world where there will be two billion more mouths to feed by 2050 and more scarcity of natural resources, including land and water, as well as human resources, we will have to produce more by employing innovation and technology.