Representatives of the NC Fresh Produce Safety Task Force spent two days on Capitol Hill talking with members of the North Carolina Congressional delegation about how pending produce safety legislation would affect North Carolina’s fruit and vegetable producers.
The two main points pressed by the group included 1) ensuring that legislation includes consideration for smaller- and middle-sized producers through a tiered approach to regulation, and 2) ensuring that market recovery must be considered in any legislation that moves forward.
The group met with Senator Kay Hagan (D) and many members of the U.S. House of Representatives, including Congressman Bob Etheridge (D-2nd), Congressman Walter Jones (R-3rd), Congressman David Price (D-4th), Congresswoman Virginia Foxx (R-5th), Congressman Howard Coble (R-6th), Congressman Larry Kissell (D-8th), Congressman Mike McIntyre (D-7th) and Congressman Heath Shuler (D-11th).
The group also met with Congressional staff for Senator Richard Burr (R), Representative Brad Miller (D-13th), Representative G.K. Butterfield (D-1st), Representative Sue Myrick (R-9th district) and Representative Patrick McHenry (R-10th). Other meetings included members of the House Agriculture Staff on the Democratic and Republican sides.
The Public Policy Working Group 3 Public Policy representatives included two producers: Maurice Berry, MK Berry & Sons, Elizabeth City and Allan Henderson, CL Henderson & Son, Hendersonville; two association executives: John Kimber, N.C. Sweet Potato Foundation, and Roland McReynolds, Carolina Farm Stewardship Association; and Group 3 co-chair Debbie Hamrick, N.C. Farm Bureau Federation. Jake Parker, National Affairs Director from N.C. Farm Bureau, accompanied the group.