CAD 2022
CAD 2022

Why Attend Congressional Action Days?

Experience Washington, D.C

Walk the halls of Congress and get an up close and personal look at the nation’s capital and the inner workings of government.

Enjoy a Streamlined Event Schedule

We know you’re busy and we want to make it easy for you to experience Congressional Action Days. Fly in Monday morning for just an overnight trip and you can still take part in all of the lobbying training and Congressional office visits.

Educate a New Congress

There is a new balance of power on Capitol Hill. Help educate brand new committee leaders and new members of Congress and their staffs on issues important to the floral industry.

Get Up to Speed on Cross-Segment Industry Issues

Take part in an all-industry discussion and lunch with SAF volunteer leaders and hear from your peers in other segments—growers, wholesalers, importers and retailers—about the trends, opportunities and challenges they are seeing in their markets.

Location/Conference Hotel

Doubletree by Hilton Crystal City
300 Army Navy Drive
Arlington, VA 22202
Phone: 703-416-4100

Room Rates and Reservations

SAF hotel rate: $209/night plus local tax
Hotel Cut-off date: February 24

Reserve your hotel room, call 703-416-4100 or book your room online. Make your reservation early as the hotel sells out quickly in the Spring.

Always book your SAF hotel rooms using the information posted above.

If you receive a phone call from any company claiming they are a responsible for SAF housing, it is a scam. These companies are not in any way affiliated with the Society of American Florists and should not be used to make reservations.  If you have any questions about hotel rooms for SAF’s events, please contact SAF’s Laura Weaver Kern at 703-838-5221 or

Transportation to the Hotel

A taxicab or Uber can take you to the CAD hotel, which is a 4 minute drive from Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA).  Another option is to take the Metro (subway). DCA is one stop from the CAD hotel on the Yellow or Blue Lines.

What to Wear

March weather can be unpredictable in Washington, so bring a winter coat or jacket.  Dress is business casual on Monday. Business attire and comfortable dress shoes are appropriate for Tuesday’s Hill Day.

2023 Schedule

Monday, March 20

7:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. ET

Registration open

11:30 – 1:30 p.m. ET

All-Industry Trends Discussion and Lunch

Kick off Congressional Action Days by participating in moderated discussion with all industry segments on current floral industry trends and how your business can respond to them. You’ll have the opportunity to hear from other growers, wholesalers, importers and retailers about best practices, Mother’s Day sales predictions, 2023 forecasts and more.

2:00 – 4:30 p.m. ET

Issues Briefing and Advocacy Training

Find out how to talk about the key issues affecting the floral industry. During this session, SAF Senior Lobbyist Dr. Joe Bischoff and members explain the issues and talking points you’ll deliver in your Congressional appointments. Role-playing exercises will prep you to effectively communicate your message on the Hill.

5:00 – 7:00 p.m. ET

CAD Reception and Light Dinner

Relax and network with fellow attendees in a casual atmosphere while enjoying drinks and a light dinner. Learn more about SAFPAC, the only national political action committee dedicated to advocating for the floral industry.


Tuesday, March 21

7:30 – 9:00 a.m. ET

Grassroots Breakfast

Start Hill Day by hearing an insider’s perspective on Capitol Hill and how you can best position your issues and stories to resonate with lawmakers and their staff.

9:15 a.m. ET

Buses Depart to Capitol Hill

10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. ET

Congressional Appointments – Capitol Hill

This is your chance to tell lawmakers about how laws and regulations affect your business. Wear comfy dress shoes, and we’ll give you a wearable flower and take you to Capitol Hill to visit congressional offices as part of your state or regional delegation.

10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. ET

Hospitality Suite

Between appointments stop by the hospitality suite in Rayburn House Office Building Room 2044 to grab lunch or snacks, chat with other participants and send thank-you messages to lawmakers and staff you visited. Be sure to share your #safcad experiences on social media.

5:30 – 7:00 p.m. ET

Open Mic Reception

Gather with fellow attendees to unwind, share experiences and frame the events of a very busy day with fascinating personal perspectives during this reception.

Congressional Action Days 2023 Speakers

Dr. Joe Bischoff

Dr. Joe Bischoff is SAF’s senior lobbyist and a member of the agriculture and natural resources team at Cornerstone Government Affairs. His work focuses on the intersection of federal programs and the pursuit of science-based solutions to plant health and crop production challenges. Dr. Bischoff has served on a number of scientific committees including the National Invasive Species Council’s Invasive Species Advisory Committee and the National Clean Plant Network. Previously, Dr. Bischoff was with the USDA’s Animal Plant Health Inspection Service where he was National Mycologist and Lead Scientist on the APHIS Intercepted Plant Pathogen Sequence Initiative.

Floriculture & Nursery Research Initiative: Maintain Funding Increase in FY24

What We’re Asking: SAF asks Representatives and Senators to submit Fiscal Year 2024 appropriations request to the Agriculture Subcommittee to maintain funding for the Floriculture and Nursery Research Initiative at the Fiscal Year 2023 level.

The Backstory: Last December, Congress passed the FY2023 spending bills and included $1 million increase for the Floriculture and Nursery Research Initiative (FNRI). This vital Agricultural Research Service (ARS-USDA) program delivers solutions to the floriculture industry by addressing pest and disease problems, tackling the challenges of climate change and enhancing the efficiency of production practices.

FNRI is a program designed to obtain and guide federal research funding targeted to the needs of the floriculture and nursery industry. FNRI was conceived in the mid 1980s, and it took more than 10 years of education and lobbying before funding was first appropriated by Congress. Since then, FNRI has succeeded in delivering results for growers due to the dynamic partnership between the floral and nursery industry, the academic community and the federal government. That partnership has been cited by the USDA as a unique and important model to follow for other industries interested in creating a similar program.

Why Our Industry Needs It: Available funds are divided equally between universities and ARS facilities and are split roughly in half between floriculture and nursery projects.This year, the funding increase for FNRI will enable USDA and its university partners to pursue Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) technologies to support the horticulture industry. These innovations will help producers with pest and disease scouting, monitor abiotic stresses and even apply crop production and protection products. These systems will enable growers to use labor more efficiently, improve soil health through reduced compaction and slash pesticide use through precision applications.

General System of Preferences Reauthorization: Price Stability and Cost Savings on Imports

What We’re Asking: Congress must pass legislation reauthorizing the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), which supports the floral industry by containing costs and providing importers and retailers with greater price certainty.

SAF and its members were disappointed with GSP reauthorization was pulled from the United States Innovation and Competition Act (USICA) and America COMPETES Act congressional conference package. We urge Congress to move swiftly to reauthorize this important program and help reestablish a level of price stability that GSP brings to the floral market.

The Backstory: The Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) has been in place for more than 45 years promoting opportunity for the least economically developed countries abroad and supporting U.S. businesses that rely on imported products to sustain and grow their businesses.

Why Our Industry Needs It: U.S. floral retailers have benefitted greatly from duty-free imports of cut flowers both through trade agreements and GSP. Nearly 80% of cut flowers purchased in the U.S. are grown in other countries and almost 95% of imports come from countries where relief from duties is applied. For local and family-owned floral shops and wholesalers that are facing financial pressures from state actions on minimum wage, increased healthcare costs, inflation and other challenges, the cost savings from duty-free imports are significant to the health of their business — and thus the industry.

In 2021 duty-free status across all programs resulted in approximately $100 million staying in the floral industry, according to import value estimates from the Economic Research Service—and an additional $20 million would have been added had GSP tariff relief been in place. These dollars are used to hire additional staff, promote consumer purchases and invest in the future of family businesses. Unfortunately, GSP authorization lapsed on Dec. 31, 2020, adding significant costs to these mai street businesses trying to recover from the economic impact of COVID and cope with inflationary pressures not seen in 40 years.

Ag Labor and Immigration: Preserve Agriculture’s Workforce

What We’re Asking: Congress must pass legislation to address the agricultural labor crisis by providing legal status for current agricultural employees and ensuring employers have access to a stable and secure workforce now and in the future.

Late last year Congress appeared close to taking real and impactful action to reform agricultural labor policy by considering the Affordable and Secure Food Act during omnibus deliberations. This followed the House’s passage of the Farm Workforce Modernization Act in 2021. SAF was disappointed by the failure of the last Congress to take action but hopes the momentum on this issue will continue in the 118th Congress to finally find a path forward.

SAF requests that members of Congress work diligently to find comprehensive solutions to agriculture labor challenges, recognizing that the status quo is a risk to our economic and border security.

The Backstory: SAF advocates for meaningful reforms to temporary work programs, including the H-2A program. Employers using H-2A go through expensive, complicated hiring processes to secure the necessary labor in addition to ensuring compliance with strict housing and transportation standards. On top of this, employers must pay wages based on the Adverse Effect Wage Rate (AEWR), which changes annually—and often with surprisingly sharp increases. This is true again this year with a 7.5% increase nationally from 2022 wage rates. Florida and Georgia saw AEWR increases of 15.5% and 14%, respectively.

Why Our Industry Needs It: Devastating labor shortages and forced wage increases continue to impact growing operations and the floral products supply chain. These shortages—due to ineffective federal policy on agriculture labor— jeopardize the future success of the floriculture sector along with the vitality of rural economies, which rely upon agriculture as a primary economic driver. Growers are at a critical juncture caused by the small margin between profitability and loss because of the labor-intensive nature of this sector. The impact goes far beyond the farm gate, as each on-farm employee supports two to three other jobs up and down the food and agriculture supply chain.


Farm Bill: Support for specialty crops and floriculture production 

What We’re Asking: Congress should work toward swift passage of a strong Farm Bill that supports specialty crops and floriculture production through research and improved access to crop insurance.

The Farm Bill is a large, multi-jurisdictional (i.e., omnibus), multi-year law that governs an array of agricultural and food programs. The most recent Farm Bill—the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018—was enacted into law in December 2018 and expires on Sept. 30, 2023.

A small portion of the $428 billion Farm Bill—less than $2 billion—supports specialty crop producers, including nursery and floriculture (more than 90 percent focuses on nutrition, crop insurance and commodity programs price support, largely for row crops). Specialty crops have not always been given consideration: It took bringing together specialty crop producer groups under the Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance coalition—which SAF has been a part of since it formed in 2005— to advocate for the needs of these producers. It was not until the 2008 Farm Bill, thanks to the Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance’s advocacy, when specialty crop producers, which includes nursery and floriculture, began to benefit from Farm Bill investments in research, marketing, and pest and disease response programs.

With the current Farm Bill expiring on Sept. 30, 2023, the new 118th Congress has begun hearings and requested stakeholder input. Funding for the next Farm Bill will be tight, but SAF, along with its partners in the Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance, will be pushing to expand funding for specialty crop programs that focus on issues like research, pest and disease response, a permanent disaster program, and improved crop insurance access.

SAF CAD 2023 Sponsors

Gold Partners

Bloomnet logo
FTD 2022

Special Thanks to:

California Association of Flower Growers & Shippers

© Society of American Florists

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