The House of Representatives passed a bill Monday that will add hundreds of new agriculture inspectors to U.S. ports of entry. Earlier this month, the Society of American Florists signed a letter of support for the bill, seeing it as a way to strengthen the scrutiny of pests and diseases at those ports while facilitating faster movement of pest-free material along the supply chain.
SAF’s Senior Lobbyist Joe Bischoff, Ph.D., said the bill addresses a pre-existing shortage of inspectors and noted that the Senate passed its own version of the legislation last year.
The Senate bill would “authorize $221 million over three years for Customs and Border Protection to hire 240 new agriculture specialists and 200 new agriculture technicians each fiscal year until a shortage is filled,” according to Politico. “It also allocates for 20 new canine teams each year.”
“Increasing the number of inspectors should ultimately mean faster, more efficient inspections and faster movement of product through the distribution chain, which is a positive and important outcome for members of the floral community at every segment,” Bischoff said.
Want to become more involved in SAF’s efforts to advocate for the floral industry in Washington, D.C. Join your colleagues next month during SAF’s 40th annual Congressional Action Days (March 9-10). Early-bird registration ends Feb. 21.
Mary Westbrook is the editor in chief of Floral Management.