Irvine, Calif. (March 3, 2021) – In response to the reintroduction of the Farm Workforce Modernization Act in the U.S. House of Representatives, Western Growers President & CEO Dave Puglia issued the following statement:
“We appreciate the efforts of Representatives Zoe Lofgren and Dan Newhouse, and all of our congressional champions, to keep the agricultural labor crisis front and center in the debate over immigration reform. The Farm Workforce Modernization Act, which was passed with bipartisan support in the House in 2019, is the culmination of nearly a decade of negotiations between key stakeholders and represents an important first step toward resolving, once and for all, one of the biggest challenges facing American farmers.
“Two critical needs for agriculture are addressed in this legislation. First, it provides a mechanism to ensure that farming operations can retain existing, experienced workers. Secondly, the bill reforms the visa program to secure a reliable future flow of guest workers. Additionally, after a satisfactory transition period, it includes E-Verify for agricultural employers, demonstrating our industry’s commitment to a long-term labor solution.
“We recognize that there is more work to be done, but this marks a major step forward. The viability of family farms and rural communities across the country, as well as a safe and secure domestic food supply, requires an adequate workforce. We will continue working to advance this legislation and enlisting the support of problem-solving legislators of both parties in both houses as well as the Biden Administration this year.”
About Western Growers:
Founded in 1926, Western Growers represents local and regional family farmers growing fresh produce in Arizona, California, Colorado and New Mexico. Our members and their workers provide over half the nation’s fresh fruits, vegetables and tree nuts, including nearly half of America’s fresh organic produce. Some members also farm throughout the U.S. and in other countries so people have year-round access to nutritious food. For generations, we have provided variety and healthy choices to consumers. Connect with and learn more about Western Growers on our Twitter and Facebook.