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US: AmericanHort joins National Association of Landscape Professionals for H-2B fly-in

On Wednesday, May 22, AmericanHort member Alan Jones (Manor View Farm) and Rachel Pick, AmericanHort Senior Manager for Advocacy & Government Affairs, joined members of the National Association of Landscape Professionals for meetings with Congressional offices about the critical role the H-2B visa program plays in their operations. Specifically, professionals were lobbying Congress to mandate the release of 64,716 supplemental visas once the initial 66,000 H-2B visas have been exhausted. Current language in the annual Department of Homeland Security authorization bill allows the Department the discretion of whether to release the supplemental visas on an annual basis.

House Moves to Appropriations Bills
House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA-04) aims to pass all 12 annual spending bills through the House before the August recess, a challenging goal given the difficulties Republicans faced last year. House GOP leaders seem to be learning from past mistakes by avoiding highly contentious policy issues. For example, the ban on mail delivery of abortion pills, which derailed last year's efforts, might not be pushed again.

Moderate Republicans are pressuring leadership to drop controversial riders to ensure the passage of funding bills. However, balancing the demands of moderates and conservatives remains a challenge.

The primary issues last year were not only funding levels but also contentious policy language, particularly concerning abortion. Despite higher funding totals this year, the House GOP leaders will likely face similar obstacles. Rep. Steve Womack (R-AR-03) believes the conference has learned from last year's struggles and expects more than seven bills to pass but acknowledges the challenges ahead. The goal remains ambitious, and the outcome is uncertain as Republicans navigate internal divisions.

AmericanHort Advocates for Practical EPA Formaldehyde Regulations to Protect Fertilizer Production
AmericanHort, along with 14 other industry stakeholders, submitted a letter to the Assistant Administrator of the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, Michal Freedhoff, PhD, addressing the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) 2024 Draft Risk Evaluation for Formaldehyde. Formaldehyde is essential in the production of nitrogen fertilizers like urea and is also used to control diseases in bulb production, primarily in the Pacific Northwest. Implementing stricter limits on formaldehyde could potentially disrupt fertilizer and bulb production leading to shortages, increased costs, and risks to global plant production. AmericanHort urges the EPA to carefully consider real-world agricultural impacts to prevent unnecessary economic and production challenges.

Attend the DOL Webinar on the H-2A Rule
On Thursday, June 6, the DOL will host a public webinar to educate employers, agricultural associations, farm labor contractors, farmworkers, advocates, and other interested members of the public on the changes to the H-2A and Wagner-Peyser Employment Service programs made by the 2024 Farmworker Protection Final Rule.

AmericanHort recommends members who participate in the H-2A program register for the DOL hosted webinar. There is an attendee maximum of 3,000. A recording of the presentation in English and Spanish will be available later.

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