August 9, 2023 Washington, D.C. – A Farm Bill set to expire in September, Congress looking to cut $1 billion in fresh fruit and vegetable investments, Congress on the verge of considering several agriculture labor reform bills, FDA has unveiled their plan to reform the federal governments food program framework.
These are just a few of the pivotal issues that attendees will confront at IFPA’s BB #:378962 2023 Washington Conference, September 12-15 in Washington, DC.
“The public policy agenda at this year’s Washington Conference addresses a wide array of challenges and opportunities from all sectors of the fresh produce and floral industry,” said Robert Guenther, IFPA’s Chief Public Policy Officer. “The industry is witnessing some of the most unprecedented obstacles in decades, directly impacting the businesses and employees we represent. Never has there been a more critical time for us to come together in Washington, D.C. to make our voices heard.”
Washington Conference attendees will advocate for the following pivotal public policy issues:
Build a better Farm Bill
The Farm Bill is the single largest investment in federal resources directly tied to the fresh produce industry with over $800 million per year invested by the Federal government impacting the entire supply chain of fresh produce. The Farm Bill also sets the agriculture and food policy for the United States over the next five years. With the Farm Bill set to expire in September of this year, conference attendees will be part of the final push to protect current investment, look for new opportunities, and work with industry partners to develop strong support for our efforts. Most notably, conference attendees will hear directly from Senator Debbie Stabenow, Chair of the powerful Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry and other policy leaders on real time expectations for rewriting this crucial, must-pass law.
Overcome labor challenges
Attendees will make their voice heard on the challenges faced securing labor to grow and deliver the industry’s healthy bounty. The current labor debate in Congress is focused on enhancing border security and agriculture labor reform is critical to that solution. IFPA believes that by reforming H-2A and H-2B and transitioning the current workforce into legal status, we can be part of the solution to address current challenges at our nation’s borders. Most importantly, attendees can create additional opportunities for our industry to grow and expand our domestic production and tackle national security as well.
Drive food safety modernization at the FDA
The FDA is considering structural, cultural, and leadership changes, some of which may require Congressional approval or action. The FDA’s proposed reorganization of their food program could impact inspection, regulatory oversight, and recalls. The FDA will be present to discuss these important issues as attendees advocate for rebuilding the FDA into a more effective, efficient, and transparent organization that prioritizes food safety.
Preserve the produce benefit in WIC
The U.S. House of Representatives slashed the fruit and vegetable benefit for the Women, Infant, and Children Program by 56% percent for children and women, leaving the 5 million women and children who rely on this program with $11 and $13 a month to purchase fresh produce. Fortunately, the Senate has maintained the current benefit to protect the most vulnerable citizens. The battle lines have been drawn in Congress. IFPA is committed to preserving this critical benefit and protecting a $1 billion dollar investment in fruit and vegetable sales at retail.
IFPA urges the produce and floral industry to register for the Washington Conference and join together with industry leaders, policy experts, legislative staff and more, as we advocate for business priorities and create a vibrant future for our industry.
For more information on The Washington Conference, contact Angela Tiwari, IFPA’s Director, Grassroots & Political Affairs, at (202) 404-3416.
About the International Fresh Produce Association (IFPA)
The International Fresh Produce Association (IFPA) is the largest and most diverse international association serving the entire fresh produce and floral supply chain and the only to seamlessly integrate world-facing advocacy and industry-facing support. We exist to bring the industry together to create a vibrant future for all. We grow our member’s prosperity by conducting advocacy; connecting people and ideas; and offering guidance that allows us all to take action with purpose and confidence.
Contact: Ashley Sempowski, ASempowski@freshproduce.com +1 (202) 303-3406