Legislation introduced by Representative Dan Newhouse and other House members seeks to improve farm labor regulations, but the American Farm Bureau Federation says there’s room for more progress. Allison Crittenden, AFBF Congressional Relations Director, says the Farm Workforce Modernization Act makes several changes to farm labor provisions.
“Title one of the bill focuses on providing an adjustment of status for farm workers who are currently undocumented or improperly documented. Title two of the bill has changes to the H2-A program application process, as well as grants access to year-round agriculture, and makes some tweaks to the AWER methodology and how those wages rates are reported out. Title three of the bill mandates E-Verify for all of agriculture.”
However, Crittenden says farmers and ranchers need more to ensure their future labor needs are met.
“The bill does far too little to help them compete with foreign imports by perpetuating the burdensome costs structure in the H2-A program. It also has limits on visas for year-round agriculture, which could be crippling when combined with the E-Verify provision. We’re looking to remedy these shortcomings to make sure that we have a guest worker program in place that meets the needs of agriculture today, but also in years to come.”
Crittenden says farmers and ranchers need to be a part of the farm labor conversation. She encourages all producers and farmers to contact their congressional delegation to let them know their thoughts on the Farm Workforce Modernization Act, and what they need from a work force now and into the future.
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