PRESENCE ON THE HILL

Each year, American Grown convenes a group of flower and foliage farmers from across the United States in Washington, D.C. to meet with Congress and the Administration to advocate for the topics that matter to our members. Our federal advocacy and policy development process, led by Jumana Madanat Misleh of ENVA Strategy, provides every member an opportunity to participate and express their concerns regarding issues pertinent to our industry. Your membership in CAG gives you a unified voice in DC.

Up close shot of a floral embroidered dress.Up close shot of a floral embroidered dress.

The Dress That Spurred Floral Recognition

On the evening of the presidential inauguration, First Lady Jill Biden, Ed.D., donned a dress and coordinating cashmere coat adorned with embroidered flowers representing every U.S. state. At heart level on the dress was the state flower of Delaware, her home state, representing that home really is where the heart resides. Flowers from every other state cascaded out from there.

TOP POLICY ISSUES & CONCERNS

Fair Trade

Label Law Enforcement

The American Grown Act

American Grown Flowers & Foliage Month

Congressional Cut Flower Caucus

Fair Trade

Historically, trade agreements including the ATPDEA (Andean Trade Preferences and Drug Eradication Act) and the U.S. – Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement have put the interests of South American flower farmers before those of American flower and foliage farmers. In addition, the United States government has spent hundreds of millions of dollars to help grow the floral industries of other countries. For example, the U.S. government helped establish the Colombian floral industry as a way to combat the cultivation of illicit drugs and in 2018, the U.S. government announced that it would help Kenya double its floral exports to the United States. More recently, USTR agreed to add roses to the list of products eligible for GSP treatment. As a result, Ecuador can now ship roses to the United States duty free. CAG advocates for “fair trade agreements” not “free trade agreements,” where the interests of all American workers and businesses come first.

Label Law Enforcement

The law (the “J-List exceptions” of 19 CFR § 134.33) requires that for imported flower bunches and bouquets, country of origin should be labeled on the outermost container. In response to CAG’s concerns, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) released a “Marking Cut Flowers” Fact Sheet in June 2020 to clarify the existing law and how to enforce it.

In 2021, CAG’s advocacy efforts led to the CBP creating a robust educational campaign outreach to importers and the enforcement of the labeling law at the border.

If you find imported unlabeled bunches, flowers or foliage at your local supermarket, CBP encourages you to submit an E-Allegation.

The American Grown Act

On July 21,2021 Rep. Don Young (R-AK) introduced the American Grown Act, H.R. 4613. to require that specified federal agencies only procure and display cut flowers and foliage grown in the United States. In the House of Representatives, the bill is being co-sponsored by: Rep. Salud Carbajal (D-CA), Rep. Herrera Beutler (R-WA), Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-WA), Rep. Jimmy Panetta (D-CA), Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME), Rep. Mike Levin (D-CA), Rep. John Garamendi (D-CA), Rep. Julia Brownley (D-CA), Rep. Jefferson Van Drew (R-NJ) and Rep. Rick Allen (R-GA).

In the U.S. Senate, Senator Dan Sullivan (D-AK) was joined by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Senator Angus King (I-ME), and Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), to introduce S. 2542, the American Grown Act.

Both bills have been referred to committees in their respective chambers and await hearings being scheduled.  Please follow Certified American Grown on our social media channels and subscribe to newsletters for timely updates as the American Grown Act progresses through Congress.

American Grown Flowers & Foliage Month

American Grown Flower and Foliage Month is an annual celebration of the domestic farming community highlighting the bounty grown on U.S. farms and the contributions they make to their employees, communities, the industry, and country more broadly.  Celebrations have included online and digital inspiration sharing, in-store promotions at retailers around the country, and through events and activities at farms and other venues throughout the U.S.

As of July 29, 2021, bi-partisan resolutions recognizing the contributions of American farms has been introduced in both the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives. This continued support spanning over six years is encouraging.

In the Senate, Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Dan Sullivan (R-AK), and Alex Padilla (D-CA) have expressed their support of the industry with the resolution introduction and in the House of Representatives, multiple representatives co-sponsored H. Res. 542 expressing support of American Grown Flowers and Foliage Month, including sponsor, Rep. Salud Carbajal (D-CA), and co-sponsors Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME), Rep. Jimmy Panetta (D-CA), Rep. Jamie Herrera Beutler (R-WA), Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-WA), and Rep. Don Young (R-AK).

Rep. Carbajal spoke in support of the Resolution on the House floor noting, “Senator Feinstein and I introduced a resolution to designate July as American-Grown Flower and Foliage Month to encourage consumers to shop local and buy flowers with a certified American-grown label. By passing H. Res. 542, we will honor the beauty this industry brings to our homes year-round and help keep our American-grown flower industry prosperous.”

Congressional Cut Flower Caucus

The bipartisan Congressional Cut Flower Caucus was created to help address, support, and represent the economic interests and opportunities facing America’s flower and foliage farmers. These Members set the agenda and educate Congress on the cultural and economic value of American cut flower and foliage farms. The current co-chairs are Rep. Salud Carbajal (D-CA), Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA), Rep. Jimmy Panetta (D-CA), Rep. Don Young (R-AK), Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME), and Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-WA). There are currently 43 Members.

Check the link above to see if your representative is on the caucus. If not, ask them to join!

WHAT IS THE AMERICAN GROWN ACT?

The “American Grown Act,” H.R. 4613,  was introduced on July 21, 2021 by Alaska Congressman Don Young (R-AK), co-chair of the Congressional Cut Flower Caucus to support America’s flower farming families. The bill requires certain federal agencies to only procure and display cut flowers and foliage grown in the United States for their facilities, events, and ceremonies.

THE LEGISLATION IS BEING CO-SPONSORED BY THE BIPARTISAN CO-CHAIRS OF THE CONGRESSIONAL CUT FLOWER CAUCUS:
Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA)
Rep. Salud Carbajal (D-CA)
Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-WA)
Rep. Jimmy Panetta (D-CA)

Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME)
Rep. John Garamendi (D-CA)
Rep. Julia Brownley (D-CA)
Rep. Mike Levin (D-CA)
Rep. Jefferson Van Drew (R-NJ)
Rep. Rick Allen (R-GA)

 

On July 29, 2021, Senator Dan Sullivan (R-AK) introduced S. 2542, the Senate version of the “American Grown Act.”  The bill has been referred to committee for consideration later this fall.

THE SENATE BILL IS CO-SPONSORED BY THE FOLLOWING BIPARTISAN MEMBERS OF THE SENATE:
Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)
Senator Angus King (I-ME)
Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)

WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT?

It is the right thing to do. After decades of duty-free access and direct subsidies to foreign flower producers in competing countries, while increasing the costs and regulations on our domestic farms, America’s flower and foliage farmers continue to face an extremely unfair playing field here at home. “Free trade” has not been “fair trade.” Therefore, the American Grown Act is a small gesture that will bring a tremendous amount of awareness to lawmakers on the issues that continue to face these hard-working flower and greens farming families. By encouraging your Members of Congress to support the American Grown Act, you can help ensure that American tax dollars go to buying American Grown Flowers and Foliage!

Close up of boutineer and CAG lapel pin.Close up of boutineer and CAG lapel pin.

Growing Support For the American Grown Act

The following list of supporters of America’s cut flower and foliage farmers have endorsed the American Grown Act.  Click here to see a list of supporters from around the country who have signed on to join the movement.

SUPPORTERS IN CONGRESS

  • Rep. Don Young (R-AK)
  • Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA)
  • Rep. Salud Carbajal (D-CA)
  • Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-WA)
  • Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME)
  • Rep. Jimmy Panetta (D-CA)
  • Rep. Mike Levin (D-CA)
  • Rep. John Garamendi (D-CA)
  • Rep. Julia Brownley (D-CA)
  • Rep. Jefferson Van Drew (R-NJ)
  • Rep. Rick Allen (R-GA)
  • Senator Dan Sullivan (R-AK)
  • Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)
  • Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)
  • Senator Angus King (I-ME)

Frequently Asked Questions

No. The American Grown Act will not impact the flow of trade or restrict consumer choice. It only focuses the requirement to buy American on the federal government.

Yes! The legislative path for “buy American first” proposals is well worn. In fact, it was President Hoover that signed the “Buy American Act,” into law in 1933, requiring the U.S. government to give purchasing preference for products that were made in the U.S.A. Today, many other industries have benefited from these types of laws and regulations that require the federal government to buy American first. The American Grown Act is needed to bring that kind of attention and awareness for purchase of flowers and foliage.

No. The American Grown Act will not impact the flow of trade or restrict consumer choice. It only focuses the requirement to buy American on the federal government.

No. The amount of money that the federal government spends on flowers is so small that nobody really knows how small it is. The American Grown Act isn’t about money, it is about supporting America’s flower and foliage farmers and ensuring that American taxpayer dollars go to buying American Grown!

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