Washington

Impact

Government impacts business. And it impacts horticulture businesses in ways that it may not understand until its too late. That's why our team on Capital Hill exists to share the industry's voice and keep you informed of exactly what's happening as soon as -- if not before -- it does. The Washington Impact newsletter and briefings are exactly what you need to stay abreast of what Uncle Sam is up to.

Craig Regelbrugge July 20 2017

On July 19, 2017, the Departments of Homeland Security and Labor published a final rule increasing the numerical limit (“cap”) on H-2B nonimmigrant visas by up to 15,000 additional visas throu...

Craig Regelbrugge July 20 2017

Three items of very good news have emerged from the House Appropriations Committee over the past several days.  First, the Committee acted to increase funding for the Agricultural Research Service’ (ARS) Floriculture and Nursery Research Initiative (FNRI) by $500,000!  You may recall that the Trump Administration proposed to eliminate the program. FNRI is a unique research partn...

Craig Regelbrugge July 20 2017

AmericanHort has received field reports suggesting an uptick in I-9 audits in our industry, in northeast Ohio, Tennessee, and perhaps elsewhere.  Now would be a good time to double-check that your practices are in order. 

In one audit, the Department of Labor (DOL) investigator asserted that inside salespeople fell outside the definition of agriculture and were therefor...

Craig Regelbrugge July 20 2017

The nursery crop insurance program has been much cussed and discussed in recent years. Most consider the program to be challenging and burdensome, with much of the burden recurring year after year regardless of whether you have a claim.  

There is an effort underway to change that.  It started in Florida, which isn’t surprising since most buy-up coverage happens i...

Jill Calabro, Ph.D. July 20 2017

Fresh off Pollinator Week 2017, you can keep the pollinator buzz alive by attending the 2nd National Conference for Protecting Pollinators in Urban Landscapes! This meeting is jointly planned by Michigan State University and North Carolina State University. 
 

  • Who should attend? Leaders of the green industry, university educators, and state government officials.
Jill Calabro, Ph.D. July 20 2017

Both Arkansas and Missouri have enacted emergency regulations banning the sale and use of dicamba for agricultural purposes. Both bans exclude weed control in ornamental and turf areas; therefore, dicamba can still be used in these markets.

The ban in Arkansas will last 120 days, while the actions in Missouri are considered temporary, pending investigations. Both states report an...

Jill Calabro, Ph.D. July 03 2017

The Arkansas Plant Board recently approved an emergency ban on sale and all uses of dicamba. The ban would cover all agronomic crops except pastureland for 120 days. Pest control and homeowner uses are excluded. Whether or not the noncrop uses are restricted as well remains to be determined. If Governor Asa Hutchinson signs it, it will become enforceable immediately.
 
In ear...

Jill Calabro, Ph.D. July 03 2017

It’s always something. If it’s not boxwood blight, it must be impatiens downy mildew. Or some sort of Phytophthora. Or worse – some threat you don’t even know about! It seems like there’s always a plant disease lurking about production and landscapes, plotting plant destruction and wreaking havoc with your livelihood. Below are some of the latest reports o...

Craig Regelbrugge July 03 2017

On June 27, Senate leaders announced that they would delay a vote on a Republican health care bill until after the July 4 recess. The bill, drafted in secret by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, faced opposition from at least five Republican Senators. After the decision to delay the vote was announced, three more Republican Senators released a joint statement opposing the bill. Moderate R...

Craig Regelbrugge July 03 2017

Since our last edition of Washington Impact, a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) spokesperson announced that Secretary John Kelly will soon expand the number of H-2B visas available this fiscal year, as is authorized under the fiscal 2017 Consolidated Appropriations Act. DHS spokesperson David Lapan qualified the statement, however, by stating that Secretary Kelly would make a smal...

In May 2016 the U.S. Department of Labor issued a final final rule doubling the salary level for "white collar" employees exempt from overtime pay, as well as the role of the overtime exemption for agricultural workers. We will discuss efforts to block the new overtime rule and possible strategies for employers to comply with the rule when it takes effect on December 1, 2016. From the...