Fifth Annual CLFP Washington, D.C., Fly-In a Success
CLFP conducted its Fifth Annual Washington, D.C., Fly-In on March 11-13. A delegation of CLFP members representing Morning Star Packing Company, Olam Spices & Vegetable Ingredients, Campbell Soup Supply Company, Del Mar Foods and ConAgra Brands met with the California Central Valley Congressional delegation on issues relating to water, trade, immigration and the Farm Bill.
The CLFP delegation expressed support for expansion of international trade and investment, fair and equitable market access for California agricultural products abroad and elimination of subsidies and tariffs and non-tariff barriers that impede the international competitiveness of California agricultural products. CLFP expressed its strong support for exempting tinplate steel and aluminum foil from the tariffs imposed by the Trump Administration. The domestic food processing industry is facing significant increases in food packaging input costs due to aluminum foil and tinplate steel not being available in the U.S.
CLFP members voiced concerns about the chronic labor shortage in the agricultural industry. The delegation argued that in order to solve the acute labor shortage in the agricultural industry, legislation is needed to create a new guest worker visa program and provide a workable path to legalization for existing agricultural workforce and their families. The delegation expressed that the introduction of the Agricultural Worker Program Act by California Senator Dianne Feinstein, which would grant legal "blue card” status to immigrants who have worked in agriculture for at least 100 days during the previous two years, is an important first step in comprehensive immigration reform.
The delegation also voiced their concerns about the need for a long-term reliable water supply in California. CLFP urged Congressional members to help restore water reliability for California in part by providing federal funds for immediate development of additional storage. In particular, CLFP thanked Congressman Garamendi (D-Solano), and Congressman Doug LaMalfa (R-Richvale) for introducing the Sites Reservoir Protection Act on March 1, 2019, to provide federal support for the building of Sites Reservoir and other water infrastructures in the Central Valley.
CLFP expressed its support for expanding the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program - an important school snack and education program - to include all forms of fruits and vegetables, including fresh, frozen, canned, dried and pureed.