Ag Labor Forum Focus: Fight For Your Farm

Lochridge_Lisa2012

A capacity crowd of agricultural employers gathered in mid-
September for the annual Agricultural Labor Relations Forum in Orlando to get industry updates and labor relations advice from experts. Presented by the Florida Specialty Crop Foundation, the gathering is in its 39th year. It presents workshops designed to help employers understand the myriad laws and regulations governing the agricultural workforce.

Forum participants packed meeting rooms — an indication that employers understand the vital importance of staying on top of the latest on the labor front. Topics ranged from broad overviews on issues like immigration, to detailed information on complying with government regulations such as wage and hour regulations, discrimination, and workers’ compensation.

Keynote speaker and labor attorney Monte Lake kicked off the forum with a report on where immigration legislation stands. Despite agriculture’s efforts during Congress’ August recess urging House members to pass comprehensive immigration legislation, the issue was overshadowed by the situation in Syria and questions over the debt ceiling.

Plenty Of Pain, Much To Gain

Breakout sessions included a presentation by representatives of the Department of Labor on enforcement priorities of its Wage and Hour Division, an overview of the new I-9 Form, a primer on government audits of employers, a panel discussion on workers’ compensation, a detailed look at how to navigate the H-2A guestworker visa program, and a forecast of what’s ahead for ag employers related to health care reform.

State Rep. Ben Albritton of District 56 pulled no punches in his keynote address, pressing the attendees to get involved and engaged in the legislative process. Fewer and fewer lawmakers have direct connections to agriculture, so it’s more important than ever for the grower community to be heard. He applauded agriculture associations who work with lawmakers on behalf of the industry, but added those efforts alone aren’t enough. It takes involvement by individuals to truly make a difference, he said. “I understand life is busy, but we need you more engaged,” he said. He urged the audience to be authentic and to listen when interacting with their elected representatives. “Just be you,” he said. “Be authentic. Otherwise, people will turn the switch off.” The key to that authenticity, he said, is to know why you do what you do every day, and to be able to articulate that.
“It’s imperative that you get plugged in,” he said. Lawmakers “need to know you exist.” And apparently, many in the industry need to know who is representing them. When Albritton asked for a show of hands of those who knew who their state representative is, only a fraction of folks indicated they did. He urged attendees to take a few minutes to pick up the phone and call their representative or write a note. “Be on the radar,” he said. “This industry needs it. I need it.”

Meet FFVA’s New Class Of Emerging Leaders

FFVA introduced the third class of its Emerging Leader Development Program at the recent 70th Annual Convention in Amelia Island. The new class members are Cathy Atchley of On Point Ag, Ryan Atwood of Keyplex, Elton Baldy of Bayer CropScience, Daniel Cavazos of Veg Pro International, Sam Glucksman of Glades Crop Care, Jeff Goodale of Duda Farm Fresh Foods, Jamie Lang of Farm Credit of Central Florida, Arby Lipman of Lipman Produce, Clayton Norman of DuPont Crop Protection, Geoff Roe of Wm. G. Roe & Sons, Matt Stacey of Crop Production Services, and Jordan Theis of Prudential Ag Investments.

The program develops leaders who are prepared with a depth of knowledge of the many issues facing agriculture. It provides them with the education and tools to become strong, effective advocates for Florida specialty crop agriculture. The program also strengthens grassroots engagement in FFVA and other industry organizations.

Topics:

Leave a Reply

Citrus Stories

CitrusSouthwest Florida Citrus Bus Tour Yields Learning Opportunity
December 18, 2014
Find out what Florida Grower editor Frank Giles saw and heard during Peace River Valley Citrus Growers Association's annual outing. Read More
CitrusStudy: Florida Citrus Valued At More Than $10 Billion
December 17, 2014
Industry continues to have large impact on the state’s economy. Read More
Insect & Disease UpdateManage HLB From The Bottom Up
December 17, 2014
Finding the right balance between the roots and shoots is critical to disease mitigation. Read More
CitrusUSDA Offers Crop Disaster Assistance For Fruit And Vegetable Growers
December 16, 2014
Free basic coverage plans and premium discounts available for new, underserved, and limited income farmers who had been ineligible for federal crop insurance. Read More
CitrusSouth Florida Takes Plunge With Major Expansion Of Water Storage Program
December 15, 2014
New ag land partnerships, including a $124 million deal with Alico, more than double the current holding capacity. Read More
CitrusApplications Now Being Accepted For Florida Specialty Crop Block Grants
December 12, 2014
$4.5 million available to help fund industry-enhancing projects. Read More
CitrusFlorida Citrus Crop Forecast Update: So Far, So Good
December 10, 2014
USDA estimates hold steady for third month in a row. Read More

The Latest

CitrusAg Land Value Goes Back To The Future
December 20, 2014
Good ground and longevity are the best positions moving forward. Read More
CitrusFeed The People With Food And Food For Thought [Opinion…
December 19, 2014
Educating the general public about agriculture is a daunting task that can be accomplished one bite at a time. Read More
CitrusSouthwest Florida Citrus Bus Tour Yields Learning Oppor…
December 18, 2014
Find out what Florida Grower editor Frank Giles saw and heard during Peace River Valley Citrus Growers Association's annual outing. Read More
CitrusStudy: Florida Citrus Valued At More Than $10 Billion
December 17, 2014
Industry continues to have large impact on the state’s economy. Read More
CitrusUSDA Offers Crop Disaster Assistance For Fruit And Vege…
December 16, 2014
Free basic coverage plans and premium discounts available for new, underserved, and limited income farmers who had been ineligible for federal crop insurance. Read More
CitrusSouth Florida Takes Plunge With Major Expansion Of Wate…
December 15, 2014
New ag land partnerships, including a $124 million deal with Alico, more than double the current holding capacity. Read More
CitrusApplications Now Being Accepted For Florida Specialty C…
December 12, 2014
$4.5 million available to help fund industry-enhancing projects. Read More
CitrusFlorida Citrus Crop Forecast Update: So Far, So Good
December 10, 2014
USDA estimates hold steady for third month in a row. Read More
CitrusFlorida Citrus Hall Of Fame Selects Class Of 2015
December 10, 2014
Three more industry stalwarts added to prestigious list. Read More
CitrusSurvey Shows Food Safety, GMOs Among Public-Issue Conce…
December 9, 2014
Need for education clear as confusion, misperception rampant among results. Read More
CitrusProspects Perking Up For Florida Citrus In 2015 [Opinio…
December 5, 2014
Positive alignment of numerous programs give reason for optimism. Read More
CitrusDemand For Florida Farmland Exceeding Supply 
December 5, 2014
High prices and water shortages in other parts of the country have potential buyers looking to the Sunshine State. Read More
CitrusTrio Of Acquisitions Make Alico Top Citrus Producer In …
December 3, 2014
With growth opportunity in its sights, Florida company pulls trigger on strategic purchases of three local operations totaling more than $360 million for nearly 30,000 acres. Read More
CitrusFlorida Citrus Commission Adds New Member
December 1, 2014
Gov. Rick Scott appoints Dan Casper of Southern Gardens to replace Virginia Pena; reappoints two others. Read More
CitrusJuicy Subjects In Store For 2015 Florida Citrus Show
December 1, 2014
Day 1 of the annual two-day gathering in Ft. Pierce to provide a refresher course on HLB management strategies. Read More
CitrusGenNext Growers Webcast Calls For Action
December 1, 2014
Young leaders need to activate and motivate now more than ever. Read More
CitrusBe Willing To Take A ‘Wild Turkey’ Approach…
November 27, 2014
Editor Frank Giles says Florida Grower will be stepping up to the bully pulpit in 2015 addressing topics that impact the industry the most. Read More
CitrusNew Partnership To Expand ‘Fresh From Florida’ Foot…
November 26, 2014
Latest deal puts exclamation point on successful Asia marketing campaign. Read More