(Nov. 17) Produce industry lobbyists were trying to get the Specialty Crops Competitiveness Act on the “to do” list of the lame duck Senate session before lawmakers adjourned for Thanksgiving.

Meanwhile, lobbyists also were laying the groundwork for possible consideration of legislation that would repeal mandatory country-of-origin labeling of agricultural products.

With senators loathe to spend any extra time in Washington, D.C., before the Thanksgiving break, the task was not easy.

Tom Stenzel, president of the United Fresh Fruit & Vegetable Association, Washington, D.C., said getting legislative business done after the election is difficult.

“Nobody wants to stick around very long, but this is the week to try to break it free,” he said

Hope remained — perhaps a 50% chance — that the specialty crop bill could be passed toward the end of the session, which could extend to the week of Nov. 22.

“Everything we have heard in the Senate is that it should pass by unanimous consent,” said Tom Nassif, president of Western Growers, Irvine, Calif.

Stenzel said he doesn’t think the Senate will return after the Thanksgiving break, so everything that will be done has to be accomplished before then.