OFA Bulletin May/June 2013 : Page 2

OFA MissiOn sTATEMEnT To support and advance professional horticulture. OFA – ThE AssOciATiOn OF hOrTiculTurE PrOFEssiOnAls Forum to Preserve, Protect, and ProMote By Michael V. Geary, CAE 2130 Stella Court, Columbus, Ohio 43215-1033 USA Phone: 614-487-1117 Fax: 614-487-1216 ofa@ofa.org • www.ofa.org OFA BullETin May/June 2013 • NUMBER 939 EdiTOriAl sTAFF Scott Leyshon, Editor Stephen A. Carver, Ph.D. Laura Kunkle cOnTriBuTOrs Those words may sound familiar because they’re similar to what the U.S. president states in his oath of office (“…to preserve, protect, and defend…”). In the community of non-profit executives, our promise is similar when we talk about the “Three Ps” of trade associations. Our commitment is to preserve, protect, and promote our industry. Supporting an industry or profession is not as simple as just these three things but they are our guiding principles. Our partner, the American Nursery & Landscape Association (ANLA), is leading us to great success in the realm of industry protection. Recently, we were at the table for the negotiations within the U.S. Senate on the issues surrounding immigrant labor. Led by our chief lobbyist, Craig Regelbrugge, we were able to secure a landmark agreement that represents a major step toward ensuring that America’s nursery, greenhouse, and Christmas tree growers, as well as farmers and ranchers have access to a legal workforce now and in the future. Senate Bill 744, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act, includes a framework for agriculture that provides a new, more flexible and market-oriented worker program. It would also provide an earned residency solution for experienced farm workers who meet several conditions, including fulfilling a future agricultural work requirement. ANLA has been deeply involved in the effort to shape and advance key elements of a solution over many years. Soon, it will be time for ANLA and OFA members, along with state horticulture industry associations and the industry at large, to urge Congress to act. The effort to secure comprehensive reform has been going on for years. As the chair of our Industry Advocacy Committee, Marvin Miller of Ball Horticulture Co., said, “Seeing the results may take a while. But the results are often significant, long-term, and benefit the entire industry.” Our industry has spent a great deal of time and money, which was provided by association members, to inform our elected leaders and effect change in our fractured immigration system. The time has included our members traveling to Washington, DC in order to share their stories with our elected legislators. For example, we recently sponsored and participated in the annual Congressional Action Days event, which is organized by the Society of American Florists (SAF). The key purpose of the meeting was to directly lobby Congress on Capitol Hill. Several OFA members met with their Representatives and Senators and implored them to tackle the problems associated with getting a legal immigrant workforce. We have finally been heard. The labor matter is huge, and it’s a big deal that the Senate is leading the way. You should know we are also working on numerous other issues to preserve the industry. OFA, along with ANLA, is a member of the National Main Street Business Coalition. The Coalition represents the interests of Main Street businesses before Congress and Federal agencies. It’s a voice for small, locally-owned, independent businesses...the proverbial “Mom & Pops.” The coalition’s one objective is to improve the cash flow of America’s locally-owned community businesses like garden centers, florists, and most of our other member categories. To achieve it, we believe Congress and the President must do two things: develop a program that will enhance access to capital for Main Street businesses, and simplify the federal tax code to reduce the cost of compliance and allow Main Street businesses to keep more of the money they’ve earned. Our most recent success is getting the attention of the U.S. House Committee on Ways & Means. In March, the Committee estimated that tax compliance costs are 65 percent higher on small businesses than for large businesses, costing owners more than $18 billion annually. Similarly, a 2004 study released by William R. Argo Diane Blazek Thomas Contrisciano Jim Faust Michael V. Geary Bin Liu Bridget K. Behe Raymond Cloyd Jeremy Crook Paul R. Fisher Jinsheng Huang Jeff Warschauer shAring yOur knOwEldgE if you would like to submit an article for consideration for the OFA Bulletin , please contact scott leyshon to learn about content guidelines and submission Published Bimonthly Copyright OFA 2013. Permission is hereby given to reprint articles appearing in this OFA Bulletin provided the following reference statement appears with the reprinted article: “Reprinted from the OFA Bulletin, (phone: 614-487-1117) May/June 2013, Number 939.” No endorsement is intended for products mentioned in this OFA Bulletin, nor is criticism meant for products not mentioned. The authors and OFA assume no liability resulting from the use of practices printed in this OFA Bulletin. 2

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