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.

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 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. Despite CAG’s advocacy and the best intent of CBP to provide consumer protection and transparency, the law continues to be inconsistently applied at the border.

The American Grown Act

On July 21,2021 Rep. Don Young (R-AK) introduced the American Grown Act to require that specified federal agencies only procure and display cut flowers and foliage grown in the United States. It is expected that the Senate version of the American Grown Act will be introduced in short order.

American Grown Flowers Month

For the past five years, our champions in the House and Senate have introduced resolutions designating July as “American Grown Flowers Month” because purchasing flowers grown in the United States supports farmers, small businesses, jobs and the U.S. economy. Last year’s House resolution, H.Res. 379 introduced by Rep. Carbajal, reached 24 cosponsors, and the Senate version introduced by Senators Feinstein, Harris and Sullivan was passed in July. CAG encourages introduction and passage of “American Grown Flowers Month” resolutions in 2021.

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 41 Members.

WHAT IS THE AMERICAN GROWN ACT?

The “American Grown Act,” is a bill that 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 WAS 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)

The Senate companion bill of the “American Grown Act,” is expected to be introduced in the very near future.

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!

Growing Support For the American Grown Act

The following list of organizations have signed on to support America’s cut flower and foliage farmers and have endorsed the American Grown Act.

ASSOCIATIONS + ORGANIZATIONS

  • Alaska Farm Bureau, Inc.
  • Alaskan Peonies Growers Association
  • AmericanHort
  • Seattle Wholesale Growers
  • California Canning Peach Association
  • California Farm Bureau Federation
  • California Pear Growers Association
  • California State Floral Association Plant
  • California Alliance
  • Santa Barbara County Farm Bureau

SUPPORTERS IN CONGRESS

  • Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA)
  • Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL)
  • Rep. John Garamendi (D-CA)
  • Rep. Don Young (R-AK)
  • Rep. Salud Carbjal (D-CA)
  • Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME)
  • Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA)
  • Rep. Jimmy Panetta (D-CA)
  • 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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