EVCWG Resource Announcement

The Emerging Viruses in Cucurbits Working Group (EVCWG) was formed in 2022 with the mission “to improve communication and knowledge about viruses across the cucurbit industry and develop strategies to successfully identify and mitigate virus threats to cucurbit production in the United States.” Since its establishment, EVCWG members have delivered presentations to various stakeholders in the cucurbit industry and developed educational resources, including fact sheets, postcards, and webcasts, for stakeholders in support of this mission.

All resources are freely available on the EVCWG website ( along with images, links to additional resources, and more! Fact sheets on cucurbit chlorotic yellows virus (CCYV), cucurbit yellow stunting disorder virus (CYSDV), cucurbit leaf crumple virus (CuLCrV), watermelon crinkle leaf-associated virus 1 and 2 (WCLaV-1 and WCLaV-2), cucumber green mottle mosaic virus (CGMMV), squash leaf curl China virus (SLCCNV), are currently available, and additional fact sheets on insect vectors of cucurbit viruses, mosaic viruses, and squash vein yellowing virus (SqVYV) will be available later this year. One-page educational “postcards,” in both English and Spanish, are also available for many cucurbit viruses and virus vectors. A “Focus on Cucurbits” webcast on CGMMV is also linked on the website.

Visit to explore available resources and learn about EVCWG activities!


AEWR Updates- the industry has been reeling from updates to the H2A Program's Adverse Effect Wage Rate

(AEWR) through rate increases for 2023, and a change in wage calculation methodology through a final rule that the US Department of Labor posted on Feb. 28th.  That rule, along with increases in AEWR rates, are creating administrative hurdles and unreasonable costs that could be crippling for agriculture.
NWA is monitoring the situation alongside allied organizations, and the rule is meeting a number of challenges from industry groups and the legislature.  The National Council of Agricultural Employees (NCAE) is challenging the final rule from a legal standpoint, and Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) is among the congressional leaders in DC mounting a challenge via the Congressional Review Act (NWA is a member of NCAE).  The International Fresh Produce Association has also mounted a grassroots advocacy campaign to spur action at the congressional level (NWA is a member of IFPA). NWA has signed onto a letter supporting the House and Senate Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolutions to disapprove of the new AEWR regulation with a coalition of groups across agriculture via the Agricultural Workforce Coalition (AWC).  NWA has signed onto a letter supporting the House and Senate Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolutions to disapprove of the new AEWR regulation with a coalition of groups across agriculture via the Agricultural Workforce Coalition (AWC).  Some resources are linked below, but we will continue to monitor and remain active in this conversation. Read more and tell congress to overturn the rule.

    ◦    View the Department of Labor's FAQ's on the rule: <>
    ◦    Contact your congressman to tell them to overturn this rule (via IFPA's advocacy action tool): <>
    ◦    Read an industry perspective from BlueBook:>
    ◦    Read an update on the bill from Senators Tillis (R-NC) and Ossoff (D-GA) to roll back AEWR rates to 2022 levels: <>


Farewell letter from Bob Morrissey

It is hard to believe that 50+ years in the food industry have come to a close, and while it seems just yesterday that I was hired as a bagger & shopping cart kid at a Piggly Wiggly Store in Seekonk, Massachusetts, the years passed by, and here we are today. 
Like most kids in America, I had my sports idols (Carl Yazstremski, Bobby Orr, John Havlicek), but that all adjusted somewhat in adulthood when teachers and coaches (i.e., Zig Ziglar, Jack Welch, and Coach Bobby Bowden) provided learning lessons that helped to set a path forward for me.  Add to that my entry almost 25 years ago into agriculture, and I sought the best classroom in the world - the passenger seat of a grower’s truck.  Nothing provided a better MBA/Ph.D. than that seat and the grower driving the truck. 
When I first came aboard, the NWA was largely unknown on the national scene and was limited in its capabilities.  I was asked to take the NWA to the next level, and the blank slate we had to work from was very intriguing.  We would be able to create something that could last generationally, and so our adventure began with that vision.  We knew the competition was all around us, even in the association world, and we had to make a strong value statement – we had to create why companies should join the NWA. Our internal mantra helped us …… ‘to make positive differences in the livelihoods of our members.’  We went to work and pursued that mantra to the best of our abilities and capabilities!  Associations exist to seek solutions for our members.  That’s the power (and validation) of the NWA.” 
It was not easy, but nothing truly is, while we accomplished great things with the smallest staff among national & regional associations.  But, with an approach that followed the simplicity of the children’s cartoon, Thomas the Train …… ‘We were the little engine that could.’  We did more with less and elevated the NWA to new heights that none had dreamed of.  As a result, the NWA has a solid foundation of programs & services that your new leadership can build upon and change to adapt to our ever-changing world and create a newer, brighter future.  That excites me.        
As Jack Welch once said, “Good business leaders create a vision, articulate that vision, passionately owns that vision, and relentlessly drive it to completion.”  I wanted the best for our members and left nothing on the table.  Our Association is in a good place.  Now it is your turn to take what we’ve built to new heights and continue to beat the odds.  The only thing preventing you from doing so is your imagination and willingness to chase dreams, so take risks because the best things are on the other side.  This lil’ engine can climb that hill and the next one too.  Dream Big!    
It has been a whirlwind career from the grocery store industry to the premier category management firm to the association world.  With the best staff in the industry, the best partners at the convention, friends that are family, and my best friend (Betsy) supporting me every step of the way, there are not enough words to express my gratitude for this opportunity to serve you all.  It has been a ‘calling to serve’ and a blessing to which Jesus Christ led me.          
Thank you all from the bottom of my heart.  It has been my honor to serve you.  May the Good Lord bless you all.  Good luck, Farewell, and God Speed! 

Bob (and Betsy) Morrissey



A Personal Invitation from our Executive Director

The upcoming national convention will undoubtedly be one to make history for the association, while it includes a change in leadership of the association as a retirement (and transition of leadership) will welcome a new leader that will steer the ship in the future to come. Additionally, it will be a time to celebrate, network, learn, and enjoy many things that the association staff has planned for our attendees.

All of this will lead us to a huge event that I invite you to attend and participate in with hundreds from our watermelon family.  And, it will be an opportunity to shake your hand and say ‘thank you’ for your support across the years, and introduce you to your new association leader.  Please make your plans today and come to Asheville.  The resort is ready; the NWA will be ready; all we need now is for you to make the arrangements to join us.  Here’s to hoping that we will see you next month in North Carolina up on Sunset Mountain.  Thank you.        


The Economic Impact of NWPB

Join the National Watermelon Promotion Board (NWPB) and research partner, Armada Corporate Intelligence, Inc., on February 23rd at 8 a.m., during the National Watermelon Association Convention, to explore the 2017-2021 Econometric Evaluation.  The Econometric Evaluation determines the impact of the NWPB’s activities on the demand for watermelon and the return on investment (ROI) for the industry.
The main findings of this study show the watermelon industry continues to receive a high return from the promotion efforts of the NWPB, and these promotion programs have a significant impact on the general economy. Learn more about how advanced modeling techniques look at the supply of watermelon, FOB and retail prices, NWPB budget, and other factors to determine the value the NWPB provides its stakeholders. Additionally, Armada will share current economic conditions and how it will affect the industry moving forward.
Can’t make the live presentation? Please mark your calendars to join the virtual presentation on March 29nd at 1 p.m. eastern. You can register for the virtual event here: or scan the QR code.

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