California Citrus Mutual (CCM) President Joel Nelsen and Executive Vice President Casey Creamer, spent two days in Washington, D.C. last week to attend the USDA-APHIS Citrus Commodity Sector Meeting in addition to continuing advocacy efforts on trade, water, labor, and the Farm Bill.
Good news was received in meetings with House Ag Committee staff that they were close to announcing a deal on the Farm Bill that included HLB funding at $25 million per year for 5 years. That was welcome news as we coordinated with citrus industry leadership from Texas and Florida on our continued critical research needs at the commodity sector meeting.
In meetings with Congressman Jimmy Panetta and staff for Congressmen Ken Calvert and Pete Aguilar, CCM advocated for continued efforts to address the immigration situation and support for an extension to the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nations Act (WIIN Act). Extension of the WIIN Act seems probable if a government shutdown is avoided.
Trade balancing issues were discussed with USDA-APHIS leadership as well as USDA Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs, Ted McKinney. Phytosanitary protocols and maintaining a strong trade relationship were discussed in a meeting with Colin Hunter, the Australian Minister-Controller for Agriculture.
CCM will be in Washington, D.C. again next week to have a major discussion on immigration with our colleagues from across the country.