wage freeze

Legislators Seek H-2A Wage Freeze

Daniel Cooper financial, Labor, Legislative

Seventy-five U.S. House of Representatives members have asked House and Senate appropriations leaders for an H-2A visa guestworker wage freeze in an upcoming spending package. The text of the representatives’ letter to appropriations leaders follows: “We write with shared concerns regarding the annual adjustment to the Adverse Effect Wage Rate (AEWR). Now in 2024, the H-2A labor rates paid by …

taxation

Efforts to Eliminate Multiple Ag Taxation in Florida

Daniel Cooper Agriculture, Florida, Legislative

Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Wilton Simpson joined two state legislators Jan. 8 in announcing legislation to eliminate multiple taxation of agricultural production by annual local property taxes. Simpson, Sen. Jay Collins and Rep. Danny Alvarez announced the filing of a joint resolution, HJR 1251 and SJR 1560. The proposed constitutional amendment creates a total tax exemption of tangible personal property …

program

Ag Groups Want Changes to Emergency Relief Program

Daniel Cooper financial, hurricane, Legislative

The Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association (FFVA) was among more than 140 U.S. agriculture organizations that recently urged the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to revise the Emergency Relief Program (ERP) for 2022. In 2022, President Biden signed into law appropriations legislation providing $3.74 billion in ERP assistance to agricultural producers impacted by numerous natural disasters in 2022. FFVA and …

TEMP Act Aims to Provide Freeze Insurance for Growers

Josh McGill freeze, Legislative

A U.S. senator and Congress members from Florida have introduced legislation to direct the Risk Management Agency to research and develop a crop insurance policy to cover losses caused by cold exposure and freezes. Sen. Marco Rubio introduced the Temperature Endorsement for Multi-Peril Policies (TEMP Act). Representatives Scott Franklin, Darren Soto, Cory Mills and Greg Steube introduced companion legislation in …

Disaster Aid Update From Florida Citrus Mutual

Josh McGill hurricane, Legislative

Florida Citrus Mutual (FCM) recently announced that the Block Grant Assistance Act failed to receive the three-fifths of votes needed to pass in the U.S. Senate. The House passed the act in June. The bill would provide needed authority for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to issue block grants to growers devastated by Hurricanes Ian and Nicole. FCM recognized …

Growers May Comment on Farm Bill at Listening Session

Josh McGill Legislative

UPDATE: Both the Oct. 9 and Oct. 13 listening sessions have been postponed. Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Wilton Simpson will host a farm bill listening session with U.S. Rep. Kat Cammack in attendance on Oct. 13. The session will allow Florida’s growers and ranchers to voice recommendations for the 2023 U.S. farm bill and related agricultural issues. The farm bill …

Federal Disaster Responsibility Act Introduced

Josh McGill hurricane, Legislative

U.S. Rep. Kat Cammack introduced the Federal Disaster Responsibility Act on Sept. 5. She said the bill, which fully funds the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Disaster Relief Fund (DRF), ensures that block grants are secured for Florida’s growers, among other things. The grants would make sure growers get the necessary tax breaks from hurricane losses they suffered. The bill …

Growers Get Update on Federal Relief Programs at Expo

Josh McGill Citrus Expo, Legislative

Matt Joyner, executive vice president and chief executive officer of Florida Citrus Mutual (FCM), reported that a group of Florida citrus growers spoke to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency representatives about federal relief programs at the recent Citrus & Specialty Crop Expo. The Expo was held this year at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa. “This year’s …

Land Grant Research Prioritization Act Introduced

Josh McGill Legislative, Research

U.S. senators from Florida and Georgia have introduced legislation authorizing the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to make priority research grants available for land-grant universities. The grants would fund research and development of agricultural applications of artificial intelligence (AI), advanced mechanized harvester technologies, invasive species control and aquaculture. The senators who introduced the Land Grant Research Prioritization Act are Marco …

Georgia Citrus Development Act Introduced

Josh McGill Georgia, Legislative

U.S. Sen. Jon Ossoff is leading the charge to support Georgia’s farmers and strengthen the state’s growing citrus industry. He introduced the Georgia Citrus Development Act of 2023to ensure Georgia citrus growers are represented when guiding key decisions for the industry. Sen. Ossoff’s bill would add a new Georgia member to the Citrus Disease Subcommittee (CDS), a national policy council …

RAISE Act Would Improve Grower Disaster Relief

Josh McGill hurricane, Legislative

Several members of Congress from Florida recently introduced the Restore Agricultural Investment, Stability and Expansion (RAISE) Act of 2023. The act would provide the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) with standing authority to help American growers recover after natural disasters by issuing block grants. Supporters said the bill better positions the measure to reach President Joe Biden’s desk and become …

State Legislature Supports Florida Citrus

Josh McGill Florida, Legislative

Landon Hoffman, director of government affairs for Florida Citrus Mutual, recently provided a recap of Florida legislative actions impacting the citrus industry: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the state budget, which goes into effect on July 1. This year’s budget included more than $65 million to support Florida citrus, the highlight being more than $30 million for the CRAFT (Citrus …

Fair Access to Agriculture Disaster Programs Act Introduced

Josh McGill Legislative

U.S. Representatives Jimmy Panetta of California and Kat Cammack of Florida have introduced bipartisan legislation to reduce income barriers that producers face in accessing agriculture disaster assistance. The Fair Access to Agriculture Disaster Programs Act aims to ensure that basic safety-net programs for producers are readily available to help full-time farmers recover following natural disasters. Current adjusted gross income (AGI) …

Critical Minerals Bill Seeks to Secure Fertilizer Supplies

Josh McGill Legislative, Nutrition

Four members of Congress have introduced a bill to include phosphate and potash on the final List of Critical Minerals of the U.S. Department of the Interior. The U.S. representatives are Kat Cammack of Florida, Barry Moore of Alabama, Elissa Slotkin of Michigan and Jimmy Panetta of California. “A nation that cannot feed itself is not secure,” Cammack said. “Without …

House Passes Block Grant Assistance Act

Tacy Callies hurricane, Legislative

Rep. Scott Franklin (FL-18) announced the House of Representatives passed the Block Grant Assistance Act on June 12. This critical bill provides needed authority for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to issue block grants to growers devastated by Hurricanes Ian and Nicole. It now heads to the Senate for consideration. Those supporting the Block Grant Assistance Act include Florida …

New Dignity Act Aims to Reform Immigration and H-2A

Josh McGill Labor, Legislative

Bipartisan members of Congress led by Representatives María Elvira Salazar of Florida and Veronica Escobar of Texas on May 23 introduced an updated version of the Dignity Act (H.R. 3599). The act would reform immigration laws and streamline the H-2A program for temporary foreign workers.  The bill would aim to stop illegal immigration, provide a dignified solution for undocumented immigrants living in America and strengthen …

Florida Budget Includes $65 Million for Citrus

Josh McGill Legislative

This year’s Florida state budget, established by the Legislature in early May, is the largest in history at nearly $115 billion. Florida Citrus Mutual (FCM) reported that approximately $65 million was allocated to the citrus industry. FCM itemized what was allocated to the citrus industry prior to Gov. Ron DeSantis signing the budget:  Additionally, the Department of Agriculture package bill …

Hurricane Relief Act Advances

Josh McGill hurricane, Legislative

The U.S. House Committee on Agriculture on May 11 reported favorably on a bill that would provide relief to Florida agriculture producers harmed by Hurricanes Ian and Nicole in 2022. The Block Grant Assistance Act is a bill to ensure the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) can provide that relief. The bill will head to the U.S. House floor for …

florida

Federal Legislation Would Conserve Citrus Land

Josh McGill Land, Legislative

Due to hurricanes, citrus greening and unfair trade pressures, Florida’s citrus growers are increasingly left with little choice but to sell their land to developers, said U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida. Because of that, he introduced the Conservation Reserve Program Amendments Act to establish a subprogram under the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) to conserve citrus agricultural land. The legislation …

Actions Against H-2A Wage Rule

Josh McGill Labor, Legal, Legislative

Federal legislators have followed through on previously announced plans to try to overturn the Department of Labor’s (DOL) rule to determine wages for temporary foreign agricultural workers under the H-2A program. H-2A workers harvest a majority of Florida’s citrus crop. Legislators introduced House and Senate Congressional Review Act resolutions to nullify the DOL’s adverse effect wage rates (AEWRs) methodology rule. …