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.

Jill Calabro, Ph.D. April 24 2018

USDA APHIS has announced new areas being brought under the imported fire ant (IFA) quarantine, effective immediately. Counties in North Carolina and Tennessee are impacted.
 

  • North Carolina: all of Warren County
  • Tennessee: all of Cumberland, Hamblen, and Jefferson Counties, as well as portions of Trousdale County
 
IFA infestations wer...

Jill Calabro, Ph.D. April 24 2018

The Protecting Bees website now offers a searchable tool to help identify plants that are attractive to bee pollinators.
 
The ‘Find Plants’ function enables a search for pollinator-attractive plants based on zip code, desired bee type, bloom period, sun exposure, soil moisture, and level of be...

Craig Regelbrugge April 24 2018

The omnibus spending bill that Congress passed in late March had several nuggets of good news in it for horticulture. First, the U.S. National Arboretum received a $2 million budget increase, which will advance Arboretum priorities and go a long way to relieving stress from years of flat budgets and increasing costs.
 
Secondly, the 20 year old Floriculture and Nursery Resear...

Craig Regelbrugge April 24 2018

AmericanHort and the H-2B Workforce Coalition that we co-chair continue to urge the Departments of Homeland Security and Labor to immediately release the approximately 69,000 additional visas that are permitted under the recently signed Fiscal 2018 omnibus appropriations bill. On April 11, the coalition sent a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Nielsen and Labor Secretary Acosta from over 1,...

Tal Coley April 24 2018

The House version of the 2018 Farm Bill was finally introduced April 12 by Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway despite concerns from House Democrats on various provisions.
 
The legislation, which had been delayed significantly due to objections by Democrats to eligibility changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), faces a tough road ahead compar...

Craig Regelbrugge April 11 2018

The government funding bill that President Trump signed into law in late March includes a measure helpful to current or prospective H-2A visa program users struggling with the housing requirement. An AmericanHort-supported amendment championed by Representative Dan Newhouse (R-WA) removes a longstanding restriction on housing H-2A workers in facilities built with the help of USDA. The change...

Craig Regelbrugge April 10 2018

AmericanHort joined about 40 other diverse groups in urging the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to allow pass-through entities to aggregate multiple entities when they calculate the new deduction for pass-through businesses. The

Jill Calabro, Ph.D. April 10 2018

Reports of traditionally non-plant businesses entering the crop world are on the rise. Amazon, for example, has entered in the live goods market with the announcement of new efforts to sell indoor plants. The latest entrant is Walmart, which has filed for patents to use drones in agricultural practices.
 
One patent relies on drones to identify certain pests and deliver appro...

Jill Calabro, Ph.D. April 10 2018

In late March, USDA formally announced that it has no plans to regulate plants developed using new breeding techniques, such as gene editing, as long as the plants are created without the use of a plant pest vector or donor and they themselves are not plant pests.
 
This continues USDA’s previous position and provides clarification following proposed revisions regarding...

Craig Regelbrugge April 10 2018

On March 23, President Trump signed into law a spending bill that gives the Department of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Department of Labor, the discretion to approve visas above the 66,000 H-2B cap by potentially as many as 69,320 visas. AmericanHort and coalition partners are working furiously to encourage DHS to immediate resume H-2B processing and release additional visas auth...

In this segment of Charlie's Angle, Charlie clarifies a couple of things from his mid-year economic outlook webinar and emphasizes that there is still time to make strategic investments in your business before the next economic downturn. These investments can be technology-related, of course, and what makes ...

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...