Following passage of the Farm Workforce Modernization Act (FWMA) last week in the U.S. House of Representatives, the steering committee of the Agriculture Workforce Coalition (AWC) called on the U.S. Senate to develop and pass legislation addressing the labor crisis faced by agriculture.
In a letter to Senate leadership, the AWC states: “We must address this workforce crisis threatening farms across the United States so our producers can continue to feed, clothe, and fuel our nation. Doing so requires providing stability for our existing workers and key reforms to the H-2A program.”
The letter notes the uncertainty farmworkers across the country face and the struggle for employers to fill open jobs on the farm. Part of the problem is the H-2A program, which is cumbersome and expensive, does not meet the needs of producers with year-round labor needs, and uses a flawed survey to set wages.
The AWC concludes: “Without immediate action by the Senate, many farmers do not see a future in labor-intensive agriculture as the margins between profitability and loss disappear due to the federal government’s outdated policies and broken immigration system.”
Click here to read the full letter.
Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Mike Crapo (R-ID) have announced that they will introduce companion legislation in Senate. Following House passage of the FWMA, Bennett and Crapo issued the following joint statement:
“We applaud our colleagues in the U.S. House of Representatives -- on both sides of the aisle -- for their work on this crucial legislation to make much-needed reforms to our immigration system for our producers and farmworkers. House passage of the Farm Workforce Modernization Act is an important step toward bringing certainty to our country’s agriculture industry and the hard-working producers and farmworkers who have sustained the nation during the COVID-19 pandemic. We will work together to introduce companion legislation in the U.S. Senate that appropriately addresses the needs of both the industry and the farmworkers that uphold it.”
About the AWC:
The AWC brings together organizations representing the diverse needs of agricultural employers across the country. AWC serves as the unified voice of agriculture in the effort to ensure that America’s farmers, ranchers, and growers have access to a stable and secure workforce. For more information, please visit www.agworkforcecoalition.org.
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