P.O. Box 147030, Gainesville, Florida, 32614 - 7030 • 352.378.1321 • www.FloridaFarmBureau.org

2014 Priority Issues
Food Labels
Consumers are paying closer attention to their food. They deserve consistent, clear labeling
based on sound science.
 Labels should be based on fact, not fear. Of the eight approved bioengineered
(GMO) products, all have been proven safe by hundreds of independent studies.
 The Federal Government should be the sole policy-setting body regarding food
labels because the FDA and USDA have the resources and expertise to evaluate
bioengineered foods and define terms. A patchwork of 50 different state laws
regarding labels is confusing for consumers, manufacturers and farmers.
 Currently, all mandatory labels are warnings. GMO labeling should only be
mandatory when a bioengineered food is scientifically proven to be unsafe or
materially different than its traditional counterpart.
 Without definition by the Federal Government, common terms like “natural” and
“non GMO” mislead consumers and result in confusion.
Please support H.R. 4432, the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act.
Waters of the United States
The EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have proposed a new rule that would expand the
scope of the Clean Water Act (CWA) jurisdiction beyond Congressional intent.
 The recent Numeric Nutrient Criteria (NNC) Federal Court decision established
that Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the five Water
Management Districts are using sound science to manage water quality.
 The EPA’s proposed rule would usurp the authority of Florida DEP and the Water
Management Districts and limit their authority to improve water quality.
 An April Congressional Research Service (CRS) report strongly indicates this
proposed rule WILL broaden the reach of the EPA’s authority under the CWA.
 The regulation of farm ditches or canals, could require burdensome new
discharge permitting to carry out critical farm activities, such as applying fertilizer
and crop protection tools.
 The Interpretive Rule issued in conjunction with this rulemaking significantly
narrows what has been considered as a normal farming practice, requiring
Florida farmers to meet stringent Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS)
technical standards in order to qualify for long-held exemptions from permits.
Please support language in appropriations limiting funding to finalize this rule.



Labor Issues in Agriculture
EPA - Worker Protection Standard (WPS)
The proposed WPS rule allows a third party representative with no legal standing to intervene in
an employer/employee relationship.
 The WPS proposed rule creates a new definition of “authorized employee
representative” which requires employers to provide these representatives with
all information the employee is entitled to receive under the rule.
 This is an unnecessary intrusion into the employer/employee relationship.
 The proposed rule allows employees to orally designate their representative,
which may have legal liability consequences if confidential employee
information is unintentionally disclosed to an unauthorized representative.
 An “authorized employee representative”, as defined in the proposed rule, is
fundamentally different than legally-codified relationships such as
attorney/client, power of attorney or collective bargaining entities.
Please support elimination of the “authorized employee representative”
provision from the proposed rule.
Guest Worker Reform
The US foreign worker visa system needs to be reformed to ensure that Florida agriculture has a
legal, stable supply of workers.
 Florida’s agricultural industry relies heavily on manual labor and employers are
facing a shortage of workers who are willing and able to work in the fields.
 The current H-2A program is untenable and potentially beyond reform.
Cumbersome bureaucracy, increased scrutiny, flawed wage calculations and a
failure to include dairies and nurseries all prevent widespread participation.
 We support an effective, flexible guest worker program which:
o recognizes agriculture under a separate program;
o encompasses all specialties of agriculture, including dairies and nurseries;
o provides flexibility for the worker and employer;
o streamlines processes;
o reduces mandatory worker home-country return periods to maintain work flow;
o contains an adequate transition provision to adjust to legal status after
meeting certain stipulations (e.g., fines, criminal and work history check, etc.).
Please support reform that provides an agricultural guest worker program which
encourages full participation of all employers and current workers.
Questions? Contact Florida Farm Bureau National Affairs Coordinator
Janell Hendren at 352-359-5268 or Janell.Hendren@ffbf.org

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