June was a busy month for the Irrigation Association (IA) in Washington, D.C. In a move that wasn’t a surprise, President Trump announced that he is following up on his earlier immigration announcement by signing an executive order ceasing most guest worker visas, including H-2B, H-1B, H-4s and L-1s, among others, through the end of 2020. The seasonal agricultural guest worker program, H-2A visas, were not affected by the executive order. In a statement, the IA calls on the president to “fully reinstate the H-2B program as soon as possible, so our nation’s landscape and irrigation companies can continue providing the essential services to American homes and businesses throughout the United States.”
Congress has also returned closer to normal operations by discussing next steps for economic recovery. The IA joined various other organizations in asking Congress to sustain and improve the Employee Retention Tax Credit, including expanding the credit package from 50% to 80% of qualified wages and calling for greater coordination between the Paycheck Protection Program and the ERTC to allow employers to be eligible for both programs, but with qualifiers in place to prevent “double dipping.”
In addition to advocating for issues affecting irrigation businesses, the IA is also working on several aspects of an infrastructure package currently making its way through Congress. With improvements in water infrastructure in mind, the IA is advocating on funding storage, conveyance and groundwater projects to benefit both agricultural and urban water use.
Finally, sustainability is also on the minds of IA members and staff, as the latest Bringing Water to Life podcast looks at sustainability throughout the irrigation industry. Warren Gorowitz, CLIA, of Hunter Industries and Trevor Mecham of Valley Irrigation sat down with IA staff to talk about how sustainability remains a focus of irrigation businesses even today.