NALP Members Participate in Farm Bill Fly-In  - The Edge from the National Association of Landscape Professionals

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NALP Members Participate in Farm Bill Fly-In 

Photo: NALP

NALP hosted its first Legislative Day of the year on May 9 -10 to advocate during the Farm Bill cycle with around 40 attendees.  
The Farm Bill is an omnibus piece of legislation that runs on an approximate five-year cycle, addressing a wide spectrum of issues that touch upon agriculture. Issues surrounding pesticide policy and research are the main concerns for the landscape industry with this legislation.  
“We are generally in favor of proposals that fortify the ability of government agencies such as EPA, USDA and the USFWS to carry out their obligations under the various federal laws that touch upon our industry such as FIFRA (Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act) and the Endangered Species Act,” says Bob Mann, senior director of regulator and technical affairs for NALP. “We support proposals that would fund comprehensive research into the scope of the turfgrass industry. Having statistics published by USDA that are on par with those published on other commodities such as corn, soy, and cotton, giving insight into the breadth and depth of how turfgrasses impact the environment would be powerful tools for advocacy.” 
Acquiring statistical research on turfgrass is instrumental in demonstrating the benefits it provides to the environment beyond anecdotal information.  

Photo: NALP

Another major area of concern is the inclusion of state preemption of pesticide regulations. When the FIFRA was introduced in 1972, it was assumed that cities and towns were preempted by federal and state law. A Supreme Court ruling in 1991 decided that FIFRA does not prevent cities and towns from enacting regulations beyond those of the federal and state governments.  
Since then, one of NALP’s legacy associations, the Professional Lawn Care Association of America, led the effort to enact legislation to establish preemption at the state level. Currently, 44 states have laws in place prohibiting local regulation of pesticides and their use.  
“Anti-pesticide activists see an opportunity to achieve their goal of eliminating pesticides in horticulture by attacking these state preemption laws,” Mann says. “By lobbying Congress to include language in FIFRA that addressed the arguments outlined in the Supreme Court case in 1991, we can finally put this issue to rest.”  

This fly-in served as a time to speak face-to-face with legislators about these matters.  
“There is no substitute for sitting down and speaking with a living, breathing human being right in front of you,” Mann says. “Letters, phone calls, and Zoom meetings all pale in comparison to in-person meetings. The issues that are of importance to our industry are important to our industry. What I mean by that is that if we do not articulate these points of policy to our elected officials, no one else will.”  
Attendees shared with their representatives who they are as well as the size and scope of the industry. They also conveyed the importance of lawns and landscapes to a healthy and functioning ecosystem, especially in our urban spaces. Keeping the conversation brief and focused, they shared a short list of asks for the Farm Bill and engaged with their hosts to bring color to the issues.  

Photo: NALP

“I can guarantee that no one out there is interested in advocating for issues important to the landscape industry outside of those in the landscape industry,” Mann says. “Yes, it is a busy time of year; your phone is ringing off the hook and your inbox is exploding. Our detractors understand our business cycle – that’s why so much of this activism takes place in the spring – but if they get their way, you’ll have a lot of time on your hands in the future.”  

Mann notes that what can be done can be undone by future legislation and courts, so vigilance is the key.  

The next Legislative Days fly-in will take place June 13-14, 2023, and focus on H-2B. There is no registration fee for this event. Book your room as soon as possible and email Karla Segundo and provide your: 

  • Name 
  • Company Name 
  • Address of Office(s) need exact address(s) 
  • Phone number 

Jill Odom

Jill Odom is the senior content manager for NALP.