GFVGA Heads to the Hill
Thursday, October 10, 2019
Posted by: Mary Kendall Dixon
By Mary Kendall Dixon, GFVGA Communications Coordinator
GFVGA staff and board members spent Sept. 15-18 in Washington D.C. attending the United Fresh Washington Conference where they discussed legislative updates and meet with Congressional members. Top legislative issues at this year’s conference were, USMCA, trade and immigration, and childhood nutrition.
“This conference is important because it gives us the opportunity to meet with our congressional leaders and let them know of the issues that our growers and members are facing,” said Aries Haygood, President of GFVGA.
GFVGA leadership spoke about the importance of immigration and H-2A reform and labor issues, protecting federal funding for the FRESH snack program to maintain FRESH produce for schools and asked for USDA school nutritional funding to protect more American produce farmers by protecting the mandate of purchasing domestic produce.
Over two days, GFVGA staff and board members meet with Georgia congressional leaders to discuss issues that the produce industry, in the U.S. and in the state of Georgia, is facing.
Food safety was also a topic of interest. Beth Oleson, Director of Food Safety and Education for GFVGA, took away the following:
The Food Safety Modernization Act and the pertaining rules continue to unfold and be enforced.
Frank Yiannas, Deputy Commissioner for Food Policy and Response for the US FDA, continued to roll out the “new era of smarter food safety.” There are changes coming to move food into greater technology and there must be greater collaboration from the industry to the States.
Many of the attendees at this year’s conference represent large, multi-state or multi-country farms or operations with only a few traditional produce operations represented in the food safety arena. Having GFVGA present at these discussions allows a voice to be heard that represents the large, medium and small operations.
To catch up on the United Fresh Washington Conference, check out the GFVGA Instagram Story