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The Society of American Florists is planning to take its federal advocacy work—and its annual legislative fly-in event, Congressional Action Days —to the next level in 2024 to boost SAF’s advocacy year-round.

Instead of limiting members to one day on Capitol Hill for the annual fly-in event, SAF will set up targeted meetings between floral industry members and congressional offices multiple times a year, when advocacy is needed most on key issues. This new approach is dubbed CAD 365.

“This will help our industry’s voice be heard loud and clear — and more often!” says SAF CEO Kate Penn. “During those targeted meetings, floral professionals will visit Washington, DC and meet with the congressional offices that influence the issues they care about during the most opportune times of the year to discuss them.”

For instance, early spring is an opportune time to talk to Congress about funding priorities for the 2025 federal budget, notes SAF Senior Lobbyist Joe Bischoff, Ph.D. So SAF’s first CAD 365 fly-in will be in mid-March, when SAF will set up meetings with key congressional offices and floral industry constituents to make a case for why continued floriculture research funding is needed. “If you feel really strongly about addressing pest and disease problems, tackling the challenges of climate change and enhancing production practices through drones—all current focus areas of floriculture research—this will be a great fly-in for you to attend,” says Bischoff.

Bischoff anticipates that there will be some momentum building in late spring to early summer on renewal of the Generalized System of Preferences, so SAF will plan a day of meetings with legislators on the House Ways & Means Committee and Senate Finance Committee and recruit floral industry members who care deeply about this issue to come to Capitol Hill.

“That’s definitely one I’ll attend,” says SAF president & chair Oscar Fernandez, director of sales for Rio Roses. “SAF led the advocacy effort to get roses added to GSP—resulting in significant import tax relief for the industry. We’ve made the case to Congress that the program must be renewed to reinstate these savings, and we’ve come close to renewal over the past few years. I believe a highly focused day spent in the offices that influence this issue the most will truly make a difference.”

SAF’s advocacy team is exploring opportunities to influence labor and tax issues as well, for a third CAD fly-in. SAF will let all members know about fly-in dates as they are scheduled.

In addition, as part of the CAD 365 strategy, SAF will help coordinate congressional visits to SAF members who are interested in hosting their senator or representative at their operation. “This approach is designed to ensure members of Congress see firsthand the depth—and needs—of the floriculture industry,” says Bischoff. “The personalized experience will help keep SAF’s issues top of mind for that member of Congress long after they have visited the operation.”

This stepped-up advocacy presence is designed to build on the successes SAF has achieved in recent years, including more funding for floriculture researchsavings on import taxes for roses and building up SAFPAC to funding levels not seen in more than a decade to support the association’s advocacy work. “And even more important, it more effectively supports the work SAF Chief Lobbyist Joe Bischoff, does on the Hill representing SAF year-round, every day,” says Penn.

As a longtime CAD attendee, SAF Immediate Past President Michelle Castellano Keeler, AAF, thinks the new advocacy approach will enable SAF members to make a more compelling case to Congressional offices on SAF’s issues. “What I love about this strategy is that SAF members will bring to the Hill the one issue they are really passionate about and can share personal stories about how it affects their business,” she says. “I think that focus will enable us to have more effective conversations.”

Want to get involved? If you’re interested in attending a CAD 365 fly-in event or hosting a member of Congress at your operation, email Lillie Wightman ( Also, fill out the prior approval form online so that SAF can make sure you’re up to date on SAFPAC’s work and events.

Katie Butler is SAF senior vice president.