The National Watermelon Association Hits Capitol Hill


This week, National Watermelon Association (NWA) members, staff, queens, and queen coordinators spent time in the Nation's Capital, raising the voice of our industry, and making a lasting impression with members of congress, staffers, and members of the greater produce industry.  These meetings were a part of the International Fresh Produce Association’s (IFPA) annual Washington Conference and included a promotion where the queens gave watermelon samples to congressional staffers and members, as well as gathering for industry issue briefings, meetings with congressional leaders, and coalitions representing the industry.  Stay tuned for more details and reactions coming next week.

Issues Briefing: Setting the Course for IFPA Advocacy in Our Nation’s Capital

As part of this week's Washington Conference, the International Fresh Produce Association (IFPA) has released issue briefs addressing key issues in the fresh produce industry. These include advocating for a reliable workforce, promoting better nutrition, expanding international trade, tackling rising input costs, preparing for the Farm Bill reauthorization, enhancing food safety, leading sustainability efforts, and advocating for environmental protection. The briefs give a summary of the talking points used on the industry's meetings on Capitol Hill this week and align with many of the top policy priorities of the watermelon industry via the NWA.

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Regulatory Update: Revised Definition of “Waters of the United States”

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of the Army are updating the definition of "waters of the United States" to align with a 2023 Supreme Court decision. This change removes certain provisions from the previous definition that were found invalid under the Clean Water Act in the Supreme Court's decision. The rule came into effect on September 8, 2023. The agencies have created a docket for this action for public reference. This change ensures compliance with the court's ruling and aims to provide clarity to stakeholders while maintaining consistency with the Clean Water Act.  This change represents a win for groups who opposed the ramifications of the original WOTUS rule.

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Grocery News: Kroger and Albertsons Companies Announce Divestiture Plan With C&S Wholesale Grocers Ahead of Proposed Merger

Kroger and Albertsons are selling over 400 stores and assets for $1.98 billion to C&S Wholesale Grocers following their proposed merger. C&S, known for its expertise in food retail, will also acquire brand names like QFC and Mariano's. They commit to honoring employee agreements and expanding private label offerings. The deal is set to close in early 2024, pending regulatory approval, marking C&S's significant growth into retail markets.

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Viva Fresh Clean Eating Challenge calls for participants

The Texas International Produce Association (TIPA) is inviting industry members to participate in the Viva Fresh Clean Eating Challenge, set to start in mid-October and conclude at the 2024 Viva Fresh Expo in Houston on April 13th. This annual challenge encourages participants to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into their daily routines and focuses on personal wellness through a healthier lifestyle. It's not a diet or weight loss competition but aims to inspire long-term changes. Participants must be part of the produce industry, express their motivation, share progress online, commit to the six-month challenge, and engage with mentors and peer groups. The challenge offers mentorship, nutrition coaching, and a chance to win a Peloton Bike.  Follow the link to learn more, or reach out directly to NWA Executive Director, George Szczepanski, who is a past participant of the program, at [email protected]. Application deadline is September 28th.

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