Members of the United Fresh Produce Association are in Washington this week looking to press Congress for action on a handful of key policy issues.
Robert Guenther, the group’s chief lobbyist, gave a rundown of the issues to members ahead of visits to Capitol Hill Tuesday. At the top of the list for the group was securing infrastructure legislation, addressing food safety challenges, improving access to fresh produce in federal nutrition programs and finding a resolution to the industry’s long-running labor concerns.
United Fresh is among the agricultural groups supporting the Farm Workforce Modernization Act, which passed the House earlier this year but has yet to be considered in the Senate. As a result, Guenther said more lobbying on that issue would be directed at Capitol Hill’s upper chamber.
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“It’s going to be a Senate discussion more than a House discussion since they’ve already done their job,” he said.
The bill lacks the support of the American Farm Bureau Federation, which argues the bill’s current language could leave producers vulnerable to lawsuits from H-2A workers.
Tom Stenzel, United Fresh CEO, said the group will hold about 90 congressional meetings this week, something that proved to be an organizational complexity in light of pandemic and security restrictions on Capitol Hill.
The event will serve as the final standalone event held by United Fresh before it is set to merge with the Produce Marketing Association at the beginning of 2022.
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