Warnick: Ag Overtime Hurt Workers, Needs Improvements

While some claim the legislation righted a wrong, many in Washington’s Ag community say the recently approved overtime legislation does little more than hurt farmers and farmworkers. Senate Bill 5172 stair steps over time requirements for the farming community, where overtime pay will be expected past 40 hours a week starting in 2024. Moses Lake […]

National Milk Producers Federation Working To Get Dairy Industry Vaccinated

The dairy industry is meeting vaccine hesitancy head on in an effort to get the shot in the arms of rural America. Theresa Sweeney-Murphy with the National Milk Producers Federation said organization has tried to make itself a resource throughout the pandemic, particularly on its website. “We kept an up to date list of where states […]

Schmick: Overtime Bill Biggest Win For Ag In 2021 Session

On Wednesday, Washington Governor Jay Inslee signed into law a bill that established overtime for the Ag community. The new law will step the hours per week need to trigger overtime until it hits 40 hours in early 2024. Colfax Republican Joe Schmick said for him, that Ag overtime legislation was the biggest win for […]

USDA NIFA Invests $14 million in Ag Workforce Training

The USDA’s NIFA recently announced more than $14 million in workforce training grants. Awarded was $9.4 million in funding for 19 Agricultural Workforce Training grants, and 12 awards totaling $4.8 million for rural economic development projects. The grants are part of NIFA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative. USDA said the Agricultural Workforce training grants will […]

Ag Overtime Clears Washington House

Legislation requiring overtime pay for farm workers cleared the Washington House on Friday with a 91-7 vote. Senate Bill 5172 will stair step the overtime requirement over the next three years, with overtime starting at 55 hours a week in January, 48 hours on January 1st, 2023 and then to 40 hours a year later. […]

Douglas Fruit Holds Pasco Mass Vaccination Event

As efforts continue in farm country to protect Ag workers from COVID-19, Douglas Fruit held a mass vaccination event Friday at their Pasco area warehouse. Lindsey Peonio said the one day event was open for all Douglas Fruit and Douglas Ag Services employees. She noted the want to provide a safe environment for their workers, […]

Galen Encouraged That Senate Is Looking At Farm Workforce Modernization Act

The Farm Workforce Modernization Act recently passed recently by the House of Representatives would give dairy farmers much needed greater access to foreign labor. The National Milk Producers Federation’s Chris Galen said House passage of the bill provides momentum towards addressing dairy’s labor needs. “Last week, the House of Representatives took a very important step […]

NMPF: COVID Has Highlighted the Need for The Farm Workforce Modernization Act

With the Farm Workforce Modernization Act, moving over to the Senate, many in the ag community are hopeful the legislation will be approved and move on to President Biden’s desk for his signature. Claudia Larson, Senior Director of Government Relations at the National Milk Producers Federation, said thanks to the pandemic, agriculture is facing different circumstances than […]

Schoesler: Overtime Discussion Not Good for Producers, Employees

As Washington lawmakers continue to debate the idea of requiring overtime pay for ag workers, one farm legislator says the conversation is not good for either the producer or the employee. Senator Mark Schoesler, a wheat farmer from Ritzville, said the idea of initiating overtime pay is counterproductive for both sides of the equation. “Because, […]

Lewison: More Must Be Done To Protect Washington Dairy Industry

The future of the farm worker in Washington remains unclear after last week’s passage of legislation in the state Senate brining the 40-hour work week of the Ag industry. In addition, Senate Bill 5172 looks to prevent some, but not all, back pay lawsuits against the Ag industry. Those suits, specifically targeting dairy, claim overtime […]