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...




A New Year Message to Membership
I was reminded recently of the beauty within the human spirit.  It had nothing to do with the coronavirus, the election, social discourse or any other issues that have dominated the news in recent times.  A cold front came across central Florida, spawning at least 2 tornadoes that stretched over 50 miles inland.  Although there was some significant property damage, no deaths were reported.  At the same time the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast was slammed with over 2 feet of snow.  Those two weather systems reminded me of the resiliency and kind-hearted nature of people to lend a hand when others are in need.  News stations showed neighbor helping neighbor; businesses reaching out to residents; young people helping the elderly; and so much more.  Human kindness is some kind of a miracle, and it touches our hearts to hear about it, to see it, and even to do it.  I wish we saw more of that in the news, and far less of the other.    
That brings us to 2021 and the outlook of the new year – a new year that will assuredly be filled with challenges, changes, and distractions.  Your National Watermelon Association is ready and postured to address the issues as they come to the surface in the new year.  That is what we do, for you. 
While we are ready for it, however, the absence of our national convention will cause a financial reduction within the association.  Rest assured, we have taken the necessary steps to adjust the business while we keep our key programs intact to remain steadfast in our commitment to deliver on our promises to you.  It will be a much different year, for sure, and we will address it head-on with a positive outlook.  That is our promise of membership in the NWA, and my promise to each one of you.  
If you feel compelled and would like to help us, you can support your association by becoming an annual sponsor.  Any contribution is both appreciated and helpful.  We will be most grateful for your support, and in turn you will help us to deliver the value of membership in the NWA that you expect and deserve. 
If you have growers in your network that can benefit from membership in the NWA, have them sign up here in the membership level that has been tailor-made just for them.  No matter what size a farm operation may be, every grower will benefit by joining the NWA.  Please extend the invitation to them for us, if you will. 
We are grateful, truly grateful, for the past support from our sponsors, load donors and military support contributors.  All of you are wonderful examples of the leadership that the NWA exemplifies.  Thank you for your commitment to funding the association that is focused on our mission …… “Shaping the watermelon industry for future generations”.  Together we are strong; Together we will do much.  With the Good Lord’s help, we will be loved and succeed.  Stay safe, and keep smiling!  
Bob Morrissey
Your Executive Director   

Learnings from a Year of Challenges and Blessings

The year 2020 will not become a distant memory for generations to come, as it challenged us all in different ways and changed everything that we know and enjoy without exception.  COVID-19 was and is one for the record and history books (that is, if they still exist).  However, even with the disruptions, challenges, tests, quarantines, restrictions and all else, we were blessed and got through it.  Thanks be to God!


How the NWA addressed the situation was quite necessary, and although stressful, it was rather simple .….. remain calm, be a voice of reason, and communicate – communicate – communicate.  With no guidebook or map to follow, we took the lead and sought after information and guidance that would help you to get the job done.  It was  the biggest challenge that we have ever experienced before.  Communications were ramped up and became a reliable cornerstone of the NWA.  Our daily outlook was to do our best, work hard, and hope that it was enough.
The NWA took the responsibility to shepherd the association through an extraordinary period filled with challenges, threats, untimely changes and opportunity.  We represented you (our members) to the best of our abilities, and tried to give back more than we have been given.  I like the expression that John Maxwell shared a few months ago:

We will for sure remember all that was the year 2020, and move forward into the unknown of 2021.  With your continued support, we will continue to do what we do for you every day.  The quote from an unknown author says it all ……. “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for.”  I have a deep faith in the NWA and its stakeholders, and we will come back strong. 

Thank you for all that you do for your association, the National Watermelon Association.  And remember, we are called to serve, and we are honored to do so.  Stay safe, and may the Good Lord Bless You and Your Family!   


Networking with other Members

One of the many benefits of your membership with the National Watermelon Association is the ability to connect and network with other members.  If you are not a natural extrovert or you do not have an outgoing personality - networking can lead one to feel anxious and sometimes cause unneeded stress.  But whether we realize it or not, we are all networking/ connecting with others every day.  It can happen while you are ordering your favorite coffee, participating in sports, attending conferences, buying your groceries, etc.  Just in our simple conversations with others, we can be networking.  But it does not have to happen just in person, it can happen while you are online – via different social apps, and websites that you visit daily/weekly.  Businesses are built around relationships, and relationships can start from networking.

Our member directory allows you the ability to network with others that have a vested interest in watermelons.  Whether you are a grower, a shipper, or a supplier for watermelons, connecting with others in the industry can be vital for your company.  Our directory allows you the ability to look for mentor-ship, assistance, or simply support from someone else.  The next time you are on our website whether it is utilizing the directory, or simply reading an article; please take some time to verify your profile and information.  If there are any issues, please let us know.  We will get them corrected as quickly as possible.  This helps to maintain a more accurate database for you.  We have been updating a few things to help with your searches/ connections of others. One of those updates has been your company logos.   If you notice that yours is not there or it is an out of date logo and you would like to update/ change/ add it;  please send your logo to [email protected].  Mark the subject email as “logo update for website”.  You can include any corrections that need to be changed as well.  As always, if you have experienced any issues or have concerns regarding your membership, logging into your account, etc.  please let us know. 
Not yet a member?  You are missing out on networking opportunities!  Go to the Membership tab at the top of our website, click on Membership Application, join today and start networking!

Together we will shape the watermelon industry for future generations!


Thank you NWA!

"I am a member and supporter of the NWA because as issues in the industry arise my one voice rarely will be heard but the voice of a group will have a greater impact.  Being on the farming side of this industry I am not always current on the latest issues affecting us (labor, trucking, corona virus, diseases, etc.) so the updates from NWA can make us aware of what is ahead of us during our season.  I value the information and combined voices that hopefully can make a positive difference."

                - Mark Collins, DMC Farms, Laurel, Delaware

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