Farm Workforce Modernization Act Reintroduced

On Wednesday Central Washington’s Dan Newhouse and California’s Zoe Lofgren reintroduced the Farm Workforce Modernization Act. The lawmakers says the bipartisan bill, which passed the House during last year’s Congress, aims to ensure a legal, reliable workforce for America’s farmers and ranchers. Among other provisions, it would amend the H-2A program to allow a capped number […]

Farm, Food Workers Lagging When It Comes To COVID Vaccinations

Despite being hard hit by COVID-19 infections throughout this pandemic, food and farm workers continue to find it challenging to get the coronavirus vaccination. Professor Laura-Anne Minkoff-Zern, a food justice expert at Syracuse University, acknowledges there are many populations interested in the vaccine, including the elderly, teachers and other essential workers. But she noted, without […]

WFB, WAFLA Sue State Over Emergency COVID Rules

Earlier this month, the Washington Farm Bureau and WAFLA filed suit against the state of Washington for continually using emergency regulations during the coronavirus pandemic, rather than going through the legal rule making process. John Stuhlmiller, Farm Bureau CEO said by continually using emergency rules, farmers had to address provisions that were not fair or […]

Sandison: COVID, Trade Issues Remain Into 2021

It may be a different year, but many of the problems that plagued the Washington Ag community remain. While a vaccine is being distributed, it will be sometime before coronavirus is not the most pressing issue on the minds of the Ag industry, and Americans in general. Derek Sandison, director of the Washington state Department […]

Washington Ag Community Warns No Action By Lawmakers Could Destroy Farm Economy

When the Washington Supreme court ruled in November that farm workers should receive time-and-a-half pay for work over 40 hours per week, it opened a bit of a Pandora’s Box. In their ruling, the High Court did not indicate if farm workers could seek retroactive pay for the previous three years, which has already triggered […]

Farmworkers Speak Out Against 2020 Overtime Ruling

In November, the Washington Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that the state’s overtime exemption violated Washington employment laws. With that ruling, Washington granted farm workers time-and-a-half pay once they work more than 40 hours in a week. However, many of those impacted workers are speaking out against the court’s decision and calling on lawmakers to reinstate […]

Newhouse, Others Call On USDA To Provide Farmers With COVID-19 Funding

Last week, Representatives Dan Newhouse, Jimmy Panetta, Jim Costa and others led 70 colleagues writing a bipartisan letter to Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue and the USDA, calling on him to spend specific funding to protect Ag workers. The letter calls on Perdue to make at least $1.5 billion of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 available […]

Federal Judge Rejects USDA Changes to H-2A Program

A federal court in California issued a preliminary injunction against the Labor Department’s decision to freeze farm workers’ wages for those that use the H-2A Program. Fruit and Nut Grower News said the freeze would effectively lower the wages of several hundred thousand guest farm workers employed in the United States. A preliminary injunction was […]

NASS to Reinstate the Agricultural Labor Survey

NASS intends to reinstate the Agricultural Labor Survey, after suspending it on September 30th. NASS will mail the questionnaires and collect data immediately for the survey period that was originally scheduled for October of 2020. The report will be published on February 11th and will include data for the July and October 2020 reference dates. […]

Iverson: 2020 A Challenging Year For Oregon Farmers But Not Just Because of COVID-19

This was a difficult year for Oregon farmers, but not just because of the coronavirus pandemic. Oregon Farm Bureau President Barb Iverson said the year started off with a difficult legislative session in Salem that focused on climate change, and taxing small businesses. She noted from the very start of the year, the Oregon farming […]