42nd Annual SAF Congressional Action Days

by Details Flowers ● 6 March ● News & Events

SAF’s Congressional Action Days is celebrating its 42nd year in 2022. SAF’s Annual Congressional Action Days will be held in person on March 28-29th in Washington, DC. Participating in Congressional Action Days is so vital to the Floral Industry. This is when our primary concerns are heard in front of government officials. It is not too late to register to attend this year's event. Here's all you need to know about attending CAD this year, as well as a discussion of the essential topics at hand.

Issues at Hand

We have three major issues to bring to the notice of the officials this year. Each problem has a significant impact on the floral industry, and it is critical to unite in support of the improvements.

1. Floriculture & Nursery Research Initiative: More Research Funding

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The Floriculture and Nursery Research Initiative (FNRI) is a USDA-funded initiative administered by the Agricultural Research Service (ARS). The industry created it in the 1980s to guide and support floriculture and nursery research objectives.

We are asking Congress to increase its financial support for FNRI by $1 million. FNRI is critical to our efforts to combat pest and disease threats, improve the effectiveness and longevity of our production processes, and spread the word about our crops' good environmental and social impact. With the right resources, FNRI can play a pivotal part in the floriculture industry's efforts to reduce crop inputs and greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) across the supply chain.

2. General System of Preferences Reauthorization: Cost Savings on Imports

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The Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) has been in effect for more than 45 years, providing the opportunity for the world's least developed countries while assisting American firms that rely on imported goods to remain sustainable and thrive.

We are asking Congress to take immediate action to renew GSP. Duty-free imports of cut flowers have benefited U.S. floral shops significantly, thanks to trade agreements and the GSP. Over 80% of cut flowers consumed in the United States are cultivated in foreign countries, and nearly 95% of those imported are from nations with duty-free status. The cost savings from duty-free imports are vital to the sustainability of their operation. Thus the industry for local and family-owned floral shops and wholesalers under more significant pressures from state regulations on minimum wage increased healthcare costs and other economic issues.

Because of duty-free status, around $40 million per year stays in the floral business rather than going to the federal coffers, a figure projected to rise dramatically now that roses have been added to the GSP eligibility list. These funds will be utilized to recruit more people, boost consumer purchases, and invest in the future of family-owned businesses. 

3. Ag Labor and Immigration: Preserve Agriculture’s Workforce

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Congress must act to approve legislation that retains agriculture's skilled labor while also meeting future demands with a flexible, market-based agricultural worker visa program that ensures access to a legal and dependable workforce in the future. 

The current labor crisis negatively influences flower-producing operations, compromising the floriculture sector's future viability and the sustainability of rural economies that rely on agriculture as a primary economic driver. Due to the labor-intensive nature of this industry and incorrect federal policy on agricultural labor, small and medium-sized growers are at a critical juncture. Each on-farm employee supports two or three more livelihoods along with the whole food and agriculture supply chain, extending far beyond the farm level.

How to Get Involved

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The Society of American Florists has put together a schedule of the event on their website and information on lodging and transportation. 

About The Society of American Florists

saflogoThe Society of American Florists is the association that connects and cultivates a thriving floral community by equipping growth-minded professionals with resources to create fulfilling careers, cultivating connections across the industry to share ideas and solve problems, being the industry resource for relevant data and knowledge about the future and by enhancing the organization’s operational effectiveness and efficiency.

SAF is the only national trade association that represents all segments of the U.S. floral industry. Our more than 2,500 members are the industry’s top retailers, growers, wholesalers, importers, manufacturers, suppliers, educators, students, and allied organizations. SAF is the face and voice of a strong, unified floral industry in Washington, D.C.

SAF membership is open to all individuals and companies in the floral industry. Learn more about joining SAF here.

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