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Labor and Immigration

New Jersey’s green industry is a complex network of labor intense disciplines which contribute over $4 billion to the state’s economy annually.  These businesses include landscape contractors, nursery growers and distributors, floriculture, landscape architects and designers, turf managers, equipment manufacturers and associated business services.  Our industry relies heavily on seasonal labor to meet peak demands on our businesses.   

With regard specifically to our nursery and greenhouse growers, we support the historic stakeholder agreement, negotiated by the Agriculture Workforce Coalition and farm worker advocates, as a starting point for any proposed legislation.  To ensure continued production and delivery of abundant, affordable, and high quality food and agricultural products, New Jersey’s farmers must have access to a stable, legal work force. Securing a reliable and skilled workforce is essential for the agricultural industry and the wider U.S. economy.

We support the passage of a comprehensive immigration reform proposal that addresses and includes the following items of concern for our businesses:

· An agricultural guest worker program that is market based and built around the negotiated program included in S. 744.

· A functioning, streamlined guest worker program that either dramatically stabilizes and clarifies the H2B program, or replaces it entirely with an improved system, and that includes either no cap or one that is reasonable and market based.

·  A fair and equitable process for determining H2B wages, similar to what is included in the recently passed Senate legislation (S.744).

·  Inclusion of an employment verification system, like E-Verify, mandating and ensuring all businesses are on a level playing field.  However, we only support E-Verify if it is part of a comprehensive fix.

· Provides a pathway to legal status for the well-trained and hardworking labor currently present in the landscape and agricultural workforce.

These changes are essential to the survival and growth of our industry. While the relevant features of the Senate proposal are mostly favorable for our industry in New Jersey, we encourage the House of Representatives to work through their own process to make change a reality.

Proposed Neonicotinoid Ban In New Jersey

The New Jersey Nursery and Landscape Association supports responsible use of all pesticides by licensed professionals in New Jersey.  When EPA label directions are followed and DEP regulations are abided by, the environmental and personal impacts of these products are greatly diminished.  Neonicotinoids represent a progressive and low impact alternative to pest management in both production nurseries and in the landscape.  While encouraging judicious and responsible use, good best management practices guided by sound IPM principles, and safe handling and application procedures, the NJNLA strongly opposes a complete ban on an entire class of chemical for use in New Jersey.  

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