Lawmakers and Industry Groups Call for Farm Labor Solutions

Brian GermanAgri-Business, Labor and Immigration

A press conference in Washington, D.C. included several members of Congress and business groups calling for action on farm labor solutions. State and national agricultural leaders joined Republican lawmakers in urging the Senate to pass legislation to build on the Farm Workforce Modernization Act. The House-passed legislation has demonstrated strong bipartisan support and was passed both in 2019 and 2021. Attendees of the press conference highlighted the need for urgency in addressing agricultural labor challenges.

Farm Labor Solutions

“Without immigration reform, we know that American consumers will continue to experience higher prices and fewer options at the grocery store, threatening food security and availability,” International Fresh Produce Association CEO Cathy Burns said in a news release. “Any threat to the availability of fresh produce undermines the health benefits of fruits and vegetables in combating the chronic diseases that cost our economy billions.”

Many speakers at the press conference referenced a study from Texas A&M that illustrates the correlation between increased migrant and H-2A workers and lower inflation. Other findings of the study include lower inflation being associated with more petitions for naturalization and increased denial of petitions is associated with higher consumer prices. More immigrant and H-2A workers were also found to have a corresponding impact on higher wages and lower unemployment.

“Overall, the findings in this study tended to support the conclusion that policies on non-citizen admissions and immigration have a profound association with the economy,” said Texas A&M University Associate Professor Sean Maddan, who led the study. “The relationships denoted above are strong, statistically significant relationships, and definitely warrant further research and consideration.”

U.S. Representatives Dan Newhouse, Jim Baird, Doug LaMalfa, and Mike Simpson attended the press conference calling for action. Each of the lawmakers rallied support for Senators Mike Crapo and Michael Bennet in their efforts to move legislation forward. The American Business Immigration Coalition Action, National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, AmericanHort, and the National Council of Agricultural Employers also expressed the need for expediting farm labor solutions.

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Brian German

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Ag News Director, AgNet West