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Society of American Florists (SAF) Congressional Action Days Report

Government advocacy of important issues on behalf of our florists is a vital activity. This is the reason BloomNet sponsors and participates in Society of American Florists (SAF) Congressional Action Days, held March 28-29 in Washington, DC.

Representing BloomNet were VP of Digital Strategy and Education, Renato Sogueco, AAF, PFCI and Floriology Content Coordinator, Malia Pere who joined 62 other industry representatives from across all industry segments including growers, wholesalers, suppliers and association executives. Their objective was to visit with lawmakers and advocate action on the following issues important to the floral industry.

Importance of Floriculture and Nursery Research Initiative (Funding). The industry currently receives $5 million in federal funds to support research, primarily to combat flower pests and diseases. Attendees asked for their Members of Congress to submit appropriations requests to increase funding by another $2 million, to fund more innovative research such as using drones to more effectively monitor and treat floral crops.

General system of preferences or GSP. Simply, the GSP allows for imports from flower-producing countries to be duty-free. This would save about $40 million a year which floral businesses can use for more useful capital investments or pass on savings to consumers. This lapsed in December 2020 and we asked for this to be reinstated.

Revision to agriculture labor laws, specifically H-2A. The challenge with the current law is it’s really meant for farms with single crops like tomatoes. Most floral farms grow a variety of crops so a single worker may not be able to work on other crops or jobs at the farm. There is legislation already passed both at the House and Senate. We are asking lawmakers to just proceed with agreeing on provisions and having the President signed into law.

Featured in the first photo above from left to right are Augusto Solano of Asocolflores, Sahid A Nahim of New Bloom Solutions in Miami, Corrine Heck of Details Software in Ormand Beach, FL, Rep. Greg Steube, R-FL, Austin Bryant of Heart of Florida Greenhouses, Renato Sogueco, AAF, PFCI, and Erik Hagstrom of Albin Hagstrom & Son, Inc., in Pierson, FL.
Featured here in the second photo from left to right are Ryan Alders of Alders Wholesale Florist, Inc. in Campbell Hall, NY, Malia Pere, BloomNet, Shallum Atkinson, Senior Policy Advisor to Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, and Sherri Grimes of EMY Custom Flowers, Mahopac, NY.

Additional photos and videos of this event can be found on BloomNet’s social – links below (please like, comment and share)!