Mar 21, 2024
SAF members advocate for more floriculture research funding

Members of the Society of American Florists (SAF) will convene on Capitol Hill on March 19, 2024, to advocate for increased funding for floriculture research. This is a vital part of SAF’s new, elevated advocacy strategy called CAD 365, which facilitates targeted meetings between floral industry members and congressional offices multiple times a year to address key issues.
During the March fly-in, SAF members will ask for additional funding for the Floriculture & Nursery Research Initiative (FNRI), a program aimed at advancing research to enhance the quality of commercially produced flowers, foliage and plants, while also promoting the positive environmental and social impacts of the industry’s crops.
“If you feel strongly about addressing pest and disease problems, tackling the challenges of climate change and making production more efficient  — all current focus areas of floriculture research — this will be a great fly-in for you to attend,” SAF senior lobbyist, Joe Bischoff said.
In 2022, SAF’s advocacy efforts led to a $1 million increase in FNRI funding for fiscal year 2023. In 2024, SAF is advocating for an additional $1 million for fiscal year 2025.
SAF is coordinating targeted meetings with members of the Agriculture Subcommittee, (part of the House Committee on Appropriations) and floral industry professionals residing in the representatives’ districts. During these meetings, fly-in attendees will discuss the need for increased floriculture research funding.
“These visits [will] provide the opportunity to highlight why the funding needs to be preserved, and why FNRI is a unique program,” Bischoff said.
FNRI’s research involves partnerships between the floral and nursery industries, the academic community, and the federal government. These partnerships have been recognized by the USDA as a unique and important model for other industries interested in developing similar programs, Bischoff said.
“Members of Congress would be hard pressed to find a better example of industry and research collaboration — it’s something they need to continue to support,” he said.
The March fly-in is just one aspect of SAF’s new advocacy strategy. In addition to fly-ins, SAF is coordinating congressional visits to SAF members who are interested in hosting their senator or representative at their operation. This strategy allows for more opportunities for floral professionals to advocate for the industry.
“Industry participation is critical to amplifying the advocacy work SAF and Joe Bischoff do year-round,” said SAF CEO Kate Penn. “We need as many voices as possible to take advantage of this face-to-face time with Congressional offices so they understand our industry’s needs.”