Last week, CCM’s Casey Creamer and Alyssa Houtby attended the United Fresh Government Relations Council meeting in Washington, D.C. and joined over 35 industry leaders from around the Country for meetings on Capitol Hill on topics important to the fresh produce industry such as improving the international trade environment, addressing agriculture workforce issues, and how to increase access to fresh produce in federal nutrition programs.

Highlights included a meeting with Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham and Ranking Member of the Senate Agriculture Committee Debbie Stabenow along with discussions with the authors of the House Agriculture Workforce Modernization Act Representatives Zoe Lofgren (CA) and Dan Newhouse (WA).  The council also had engaging discussions with Representatives Kim Schrier (WA), Jimmy Panetta (CA), Jim Costa (CA), and GT Thompson (PA), and Senator Bob Casey of Pennsylvania.

Senate Begins work on Ag workforce legislation

 With the House passage of the Agriculture Workforce Modernization Act late last year, efforts are underway to move legislation forward in the Senate. It was made clear early in the process that the Senate would not take up the House bill and will instead introduce their own version, which by all reports will be largely similar to the House bill.  As it stands now, Senator Thom Tillis (NC) and Senator Feinstein are working in bipartisan fashion to craft a bill that is expected to be introduced after the March primary.

Also at play is the Supreme Court’s anticipated ruling relating to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).  The outcome in the case will directly impact if and how Congress and the Administration will proceed on comprehensive immigration reform which will in-turn influence how Congress approaches the agricultural workforce component.  The Supreme Court ruling is due out in June 2020.

CCM will continue to work with our partners nationwide as part of the Agriculture Workforce Coalition to advance legislation that provides legal status for the current workforce, reforms the current federal agriculture guestworker program, and ensures that we will have future access to a skilled, dedicated workforce.