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August 30, 2016

Colorado Produce Growers Ask Members of Congress for Help Against Overregulation

Last week, the Colorado Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association (CFVGA) held a roundtable discussion and asked U.S. Representatives Mike Coffman (CO-6) and Ken Buck (CO-4) for assistance in fighting government overregulation. Robert Sakata, CFVGA president and WG member, hosted the event that also included Colorado Department of Agriculture Commissioner Don Brown and representatives from the offices of Sens. Michael Bennet and Cory Gardner and U.S. Reps. Jared Polis and Ed Perlmutter.  

CFVGA members expressed concerns over a number of regulatory issues, including immigration, labor, water and pesticides. Attendees suggested that certain regulatory responsibilities, such as those dealing with labor and crop protection, should be moved from other agencies to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The difficult and unworkable H-2A program was also a target with participants saying there is a need for a new guest worker program. Sakata explained that his operation would not plant cabbage for the first time in recent memory. “I am tired of having cabbage rot in the field, because we cannot get the labor we need to harvest and pack it,” he said.

Attendees included representatives from business, labor, area farming cooperatives and farm supply companies. The event, which was held at Sakata Farms in Brighton, Colo., was followed by tours of Sakata’s processing and packing operation and Petrocco Farms, also of Brighton and a WG member.

For more information, contact Cory Lunde at (949) 885-2264.