Your Chance to Make an Impact By Tim Hodson

So far, the first six months of 2017 have been a bit crazy in Washington, D.C.

There is always a lot of change when a new administration takes office, but this year things seem to be even more tumultuous.

So, it was very encouraging to see in late April, when Tom Demaline, president of Willoway Nurseries, was invited to participate in a “Farmer’s Roundtable” meeting with the president and the newly appointed secretary of agriculture.

During the meeting, Demaline along with other representatives of the agriculture industry got to discuss many of the issues facing agriculture and horticulture. Demaline also serves on the board of directors at AmericanHort, so it was great to see that our industry had a front seat at the table and heard.

No major policies were decided at the meeting, but according to Demaline, the conversation was very productive and there is a lot that needs to be done in the coming months to help the horticulture/agriculture industries.

While Demaline’s meeting was pretty high profile, our industry always has a presence in Washington, D.C. Craig Regelbrugge, AmericanHort’s senior vice president for industry advocacy and research, has been working tirelessly for more than a decade now to represent our industry’s interests in the capital.

Craig and his team in D.C. act as the eyes, ears and voice for growers working on things like the latest immigration issues and ensuring an adequate workforce; legislation pertaining to business practices like tax reform and human resources; and plant health issues and their impact on people and the environment, just to name a few.

They are your advocates in Washington and they make sure lawmakers always know what is happening in our industry.

Here’s Your Opportunity

Later this year, your individual voice can be heard in the nation’s capital too.

This September, AmericanHort will host Impact Washington, an advocacy and policy summit, in Washington, D.C. — and you are invited to participate.

Impact Washington will allow representatives from the horticulture industry to meet with elected leaders, their staffs and other policy experts and delve into the issues that are critical to our industry. It is your chance to tell the policymakers, in your own words, about what Craig and Co. are always working on and how important it is to you and your business.

During Impact Washington, attendees will sit down with elected officials from the House of Representatives and the Senate to represent the horticulture industry and discuss the issues and their impact on business success. It is your opportunity to share personal and relevant experiences and provide context and influence for those lawmakers on the legislative decisions that they make.

This is your opportunity to make an impact — don’t miss it.

The two-day meeting will take place Sept. 12 and 13 at the Westin Washington D.C. City Center hotel. If you would like to participate in Impact Washington or would like more information on the event, go to

Tim Hodson is the editorial director of GPN and Big Grower. He can be reached at [email protected]

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