Canada’s Plastic Proposal Concerns Florida Growers

Tacy Callies International, Regulation

The Florida produce industry, including citrus, recently voiced concerns regarding Canada’s proposal to reduce the use of fresh produce plastic packaging. Organizations represented in a Florida letter to the director of Canada’s Plastics Regulatory Affairs Division include Florida Citrus Packers, Florida Citrus Mutual, Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association (FFVA), Florida Blueberry Growers Association, Florida Strawberry Growers Association and Florida Farm …

wage

H-2A Wage Rates to Rise Again

Daniel Cooper Labor

Florida’s adverse effect wage rate (AEWR), the minimum wage for H-2A agricultural workers, is estimated to climb 3% in 2024. Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association (FFVA) reported the new Florida AEWR is estimated to be $14.77 per hour. Georgia’s AEWR is expected to rise 7%. Georgia Fruit & Vegetable Growers Association (GFVGA) reported Georgia’s new AEWR is estimated to be …

court

EPA Ban of Chlorpyrifos Overturned by Court

Josh McGill Legal, Pesticides

The federal Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals on Nov. 2 ruled the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) failed to follow the law when it revoked chlorpyrifos tolerances — effectively banning the pesticide. “Its (EPA’s) decision was arbitrary and capricious … so we grant the petitions for review and vacate its order,” the court stated. See the court’s ruling here. The American …

citrus forecast

FFVA Endorses Glyphosate Renewal in Europe

Josh McGill International, Pesticides, Regulation

Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association (FFVA) recently submitted comments to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service endorsing the European Union’s (EU) 10-year registration renewal efforts for glyphosate. In the letter, FFVA stressed that glyphosate herbicide has been used safely and successfully in Europe for more than 40 years. It noted that leading health regulators, including in Europe, the …

Program Provides Incentives to Address Labor Challenges

Josh McGill Labor

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently announced the Farm Labor Stabilization and Protection Pilot Program (FLSP). The new pilot grant program aims to improve food and agricultural supply-chain resiliency by addressing challenges agricultural employers face with labor shortages and instability.  “The program will provide incentives designed to simultaneously benefit workers and employers, with the potential to inform the H-2A …

FFVA: Work Needed on Miami-Dade Heat Bill

Josh McGill Labor, Regulation

The Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association (FFVA) recently requested the rejection of Miami-Dade County’s proposed Heat Standard for Outdoor Workers. FFVA urged the county’s Community Health Committee (CHC) to engage agricultural producers in developing a meaningful and workable standard. FFVA argued that the proposed standard is intentionally broad and punitive and does not provide the support needed for implementation. The …

Rule Would Bolster H-2A Farmworker Protections

Josh McGill Labor, Regulation

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) on Sept. 12 proposed a new rule that would strengthen protections for temporary foreign farmworkers in the H-2A program. This is the third proposed regulation tied specifically to the H-2A program in the last year. It follows the final DOL rule published in October 2022 that modernized key aspects of the H-2A program and …

FFVA Endorses Aldicarb Registration

Josh McGill Florida, Pesticides

The Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association (FFVA) submitted comments to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in support of the proposed federal registration of aldicarb on Florida oranges and grapefruit. “Prior to the business-strategy decision by the previous registrant to voluntarily remove aldicarb from the market in 2010, this insecticide was considered a cornerstone of immediate and long-term sustainable production …

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 …

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) …

H-2A Visa Fees to Increase June 17

Josh McGill Labor, Regulation

The U.S. Department of State (DOS) fees for petition-based non-immigrant visas for H-2A temporary foreign workers will increase on June 17, Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association (FFVA) reported. The final rule from DOS will increase the H-2A visa fees by 7.9%, from $190 to $205, less than DOS originally proposed in 2022. In its original proposal, DOS would have increased …

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 …

Safeguard Produce Supply, Coalition Urges

Josh McGill International

The Global Coalition of Fresh Produce recently called on national and international policymakers to implement measures to safeguard the supply of affordable and safe fruits and vegetables worldwide. The coalition also sought to ensure the viability of the fruit and vegetable industry. The coalition made the requests in a report titled Global Value Chains for Fresh Produce: An Urgent Call …

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 …

Leader Development Program Seeks Applicants

Josh McGill Education

Applications are open until June 16 for those interested in being part of Class 13 of the Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association (FFVA) Emerging Leader Development Program (ELDP). ELDP, administered by the Florida Specialty Crop Foundation, was launched in 2011 to identify and develop leaders to be strong advocates for Florida agriculture. Program sessions provide a wealth of information about …

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. …

Stuart Scholarship Applications Due April 15

Josh McGill Scholarship

Applications for the Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association’s (FFVA) Mike and Karen Stuart Scholarship are due April 15. Application forms are available at the FFVA’s Florida Specialty Crop Foundation website. The scholarship, for $2,000 per recipient, was created in 2021 to encourage and support college students who intend to pursue a career in the specialty crop industry. It is open …

Legislation Introduced in Hurricane Relief Effort

Josh McGill hurricane, Legislative

Rep. Scott Franklin (FL-18), Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-25) and Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) introduced the Block Grant Assistance Act of 2023, a critical bill to ensure the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) can provide needed relief to agriculture producers devastated by Hurricanes Ian and Nicole. This bill will provide the agriculture secretary needed authority to provide block grants to …

Hurricane Aid Sought for Florida Citrus Industry

Josh McGill hurricane

The Florida citrus industry has an urgent need for disaster aid in the wake of Hurricanes Ian and Nicole, 17 members of Florida’s congressional delegation advised the U.S. House Committee on Appropriations.  In a Dec. 8 letter, the U.S. representatives stated that Hurricane Ian impacts caused an estimated $675.5 million in preliminary damages to the industry. They reported that damage …

wage

Basics of the H-2A Final Rule

Josh McGill Labor, Regulation

The 2022 H-2A program final rule was published Oct. 12 and became effective Nov. 14. The vast majority of Florida citrus is harvested by temporary foreign workers within the H-2A program, so the rule has many implications for the state’s citrus industry. Jamie Fussell, Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association director of labor relations, discussed the final rule during the Nov. …