U.S. Presidential candidate and former-Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney made a special phone call to the Western Growers 86th annual meeting in San Diego Nov. 7 to discuss agriculture’s top issues with leaders in the fresh produce industry.

During the conference call, Romney reassured farmers who are currently facing serious challenges about securing a legal, stable work force to produce the fresh food America depends on.

“I am committed to having enough workers to get our economy going and businesses in business,” Romney told the group of Arizona and California growers, packers, and shippers during the conference call.

Romney plans to give states the power to secure adequate visas for agricultural workers and said simply that the federal government and “bureaucrats in Washington” are currently getting in the way.

Western Growers President and Chief Executive Officer Tom Nassif said government over-regulation is stifling the fresh produce industry. He said the industry's expansion plans don't include the U.S. and instead companies are expanding to foreign countries.

Nassif asked Romney what he would do about government regulations as president.

Romney’s answer is to “go after regulations” and reduce the federal work force. The job for regulators “is also to encourage growth of industry,” Romney said during the call. “That’s what regulators should be doing.”

Romney said he wants to reinforce American industries that are competitive. “In agriculture, we are very competitive,” he told Western Growers Board of Directors. “Yours is one of the industries where we’re able to compete with the nations around the world.”

Western Growers has not endorsed any presidential candidates and typically does not endorse particular candidates until after the primaries.