This issue of The Weekly Rind includes a number of announcements & congratulations, and requests for your help - - your help to support the changes to the watermelon grade standards and your input prior to the Senate’s consideration of the immigration bill. 
Please take a moment to help us congratulate the annual raffle winners, and thank the newly elected officers and executive committee of the NWA.
Then, log on to the Federal Register and support the pending changes to the watermelon grade standards, which are being modernized to reflect today’s varieties – today’s watermelon crop – which will help growers and inspectors alike.  USDA needs to hear from everyone in support of these efforts.  It will only take a few minutes of your time.  Please help us.
Additionally, the U.S. Senate will very soon take up the House immigration bill, known as the Farm Workforce Modernization Act.  There are issues galore with the House version, and this may be our only chance to work with federal legislators to make some necessary changes to the bill.  Please take some time to review the highlights of the House version, and let us know what your thoughts are - - good or bad - - and what you would like to have changed - - and what to change it to.  This is vital, and needed quickly. 

Thank you all very much, and enjoy this issue of The Weekly Rind.      


Give Us Your Input – Immigration Bill

As the Farm Workforce Modernization Act makes it way from the House to the Senate, the path forward is yet unknown.  We know that the House bill has a number of areas that need improvement. 

How or if that possibility will come available is yet to be determined.  Being prepared is our key for the possibility to make some changes to the House version.  That is where you come in. A recap of the House bill will give you a bird’s eye view of the highlights of the legislation.  The Myths vs. Facts sheet will offer some insights that may be of interest to you.

After you review the documents, please share your thoughts about the bill with the NWA at [email protected], and as soon as possible, please.  What do you NOT like about the bill?  What do you want changed, and to what?  What is missing in the bill that will help? 

FYI - - as with any legislation, there are NO PROMISES that we can make.  We will do our best to make changes that will improve the House bill, but that is all we can offer you – we will try our best!  With your input, that will help us greatly.  

This is your opportunity to chime in, to add your voice to the issue, and help us to speak with a loud, informed voice when the opportunity opens up to negotiate changes with the Senate.  The Senate, once they decide to move forward, won’t wait for anyone, so please …. Send us your thoughts, your needs, your requests, ASAP! Thank you very much.

House Bill     

Myths vs. Facts


Watermelon Standards Need Supporting Comments


Log-on Today and Support the Updates The National Watermelon Association formed a Grade Standards Committee 13 months ago to work with USDA to modernize the grade standards and update the photo library to both reflect the varieties and business of today.  That effort, chaired by Jordan Carter of Cordele, Georgia, has accomplished as much as possible, even with the 2020 shut-down and travel limitations.  Now that the country is beginning to reopen, it is time to get the ball rolling again.

A Watermelon Proposed Notice was published in the Federal Register on Thursday, March 11 with a 60-day period to submit comments.  After the submission period closes, and it is determined that the sum of the comments support the revisions, and there are no further revisions to be made, USDA will develop a Final Notice and send it to the Federal Register.  If all goes well, possibly by late summer, the revisions will become effective.

Please logon to the Federal Register and support these revisions to the grade standards.  There will be more changes coming in the future, and we’ll take care of them one at a time until we have completed the modernization effort. 

Thank you very much.

Proposed Notice

Grade Standards

Federal Register


The Vineline Archive


Quarterly magazine of the National Watermelon Association. The Vineline has the latest industry news and quarterly updates from our National Watermelon Queen and our chapter queens. Click issue cover to read.


2022          Spring                                Summer                              Fall                             Winter                            



2021          Spring                             Summer                               Fall                                Winter



2020          Spring                             Summer                               Fall                                  Winter


2019          Spring                             Summer                               Fall                                  Winter


2018          Spring                             Summer                               Fall                                  Winter


2017          Spring                             Summer                               Fall                                  Winter


2016          Spring                             Summer                               Fall                                  Winter


2015          Spring                             Summer                               Fall                                  Winter


2014          Spring                             Summer                               Fall                                  Winter


2013         Winter                              


U.S. House reintroduces Immigration Bill

Just as we predicted a couple of weeks ago, the House reintroduced the Farm Workforce Modernization Act on Wednesday evening.  This is the beginning of a piece-meal approach to immigration reform in Washington.  The bill passed in the House on December 11, 2019 with 61% approval – 226 DEMs and 34 REPs.  The bill is ‘unchanged’ (less some dates and other minor clerical corrections).
We anticipate that the bill will go directly to the floor for a vote in the House within the next two weeks, which means no changes will be made at all from the prior bill other than the dating and minor clerical changes.  The House ‘will’ pass it primarily on party lines, and send it to the Senate.  That is where we have the best opportunity, considering that this bill will require 60 votes to pass in the Senate.
Once the Senate receives the bill, the Adverse Effect Wage Rates, treatment of Farm Labor Contractors and more will be vetted.  That will be Agriculture’s chance to get our friends in the Senate to make changes that will improve on the House bill.  It will be uphill battle for them, for sure, and will include a great deal of debate.  The highlights of the bill are attached along with a Myths vs. Facts sheet. 
The NWA is engaged at many levels and discussions with our colleagues in the F&V industry to work through the reintroduction, reacquaint ourselves with the bill, understand its impact on the needs for AG labor, and bring your input into the fold once the House completes that sped-up process.  Our only option – our only input – will be with the Senate when they take up the bill.  Given the fact that this bill will require 60-votes to pass (or fail), we believe that we can make some concrete changes to the House version that will make sense.  Please stay tuned to further, upcoming updates.  We will be asking your input, so please stay tuned.    

Farm Workforce Act...




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