The Agriculture Workforce Coalition is calling for action on behalf of the U.S. Senate in regard to agriculture labor. In a letter sent to Senate leadership, the coalition highlights the growing list of reasons that necessitate agriculture labor reform. The letter comes on the heels of the House of Representatives recently passing the Farm Workforce Modernization Act. The group notes the H-2A program is a vital resource, but improvements are needed to make the program more effective.
“The House recently passed bipartisan legislation attempting to solve this issue. We implore the Senate to put forward its ideas and solutions to pass legislation in a bipartisan manner to address our agricultural workforce challenges,” the letter states. “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in labor-intensive agriculture as the margins between profitability and loss disappear due to the federal government’s outdated policies and broken immigration system.”
Signatories of the letter include the American Farm Bureau Federation, Western Growers, and the National Council of Agricultural Employers. Members of the coalition point out the challenges faced by agriculture in acquiring enough labor to keep up with production. The group asserts that agriculture labor reform would bring much-needed stability to the industry. California Farm Bureau Federation, National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), and National Farmers Union are also encouraging swift action from the Senate.
“Nothing gets done if we cannot move forward. The broad industry and bipartisan support for passing FWMA in the House demonstrates the acute need for ag labor reform this Congress and illustrates that consensus can be achieved,” NMPF President and CEO Jim Mulhern said in a news release. “NMPF will continue its bipartisan efforts in Congress and calls on the Senate to enact its own ag labor reform measure that gives dairy reliable access to the workforce farmers and farmworkers need to nourish the nation and the world.”