After a two-year hiatus, the Western Growers Board of Directors resumed its annual lobbying trip to Washington, D.C. last week. Over the course of three days, the delegation of board members and future volunteer leaders met with nearly two dozen congressional representatives and administration officials to elevate the needs of Western fresh produce growers.
The following major policy priorities were discussed:
- Farm Bill: The Farm Bill will be reauthorized next year. The board advocated for funding for automation research and development, research for food safety technologies and next generation crop protection tools.
- Water: WG and a coalition of Western water stakeholders secured $8 billion for Western water needs in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act passed last year, as well as an additional $4 billion in the recently passed Inflation Reduction Act to help the Colorado River crisis. The board pressed the administration to take urgent action with the funds they now have.
- Food Safety: The board urged the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to move toward a prevention-driven agenda instead of its historical emphasis on inspection and enforcement actions.
- Crop Protection Tools: The board discussed the consequences of removing existing crop protection tools with viable alternatives in place and pushed for federal funding for research on biopesticides and other softer pesticides.
- Immigration: The Farm Workforce Modernization Act passed the House for the second time in 2021. The board pressed the Senate to build on the negotiations between Senators Bennet (D-Colo.) and Crapo (R-Idaho) in preparation for a potential window of opportunity during the lame duck session following the November elections.
- Ports and Trade: The Federal Maritime Commission is moving forward with implementing the Ocean Shipping Reform Act passed earlier this year. The board stressed the need for Congress and the administration to remain diligent about addressing supply chain issues while maintaining and expanding our access to high value foreign markets.
To see photos from the trip, please click here.