WASHINGTON — The following statements were released by the American Farm Bureau Federation and the National Farmers Union following the passage of the Farm Workforce Modernization Act in the U.S. House of Representatives. For House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s statement on this bill, please click here.
Farm Bureau: Farmers Need Meaningful Ag Labor Reform
The following statement may be attributed to American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall:
“At a time when the farm worker shortage has reached a crisis in parts of the country, it is deeply disappointing that the House blocked any possibility of improving the legislation designed to address the problem, the Farm Workforce Modernization Act. Several amendments addressed our principal concerns, but were blocked from consideration. As a result, we do not support the final bill passed by the House today. We will turn our attention to the Senate where we hope legislation is crafted that provides long-term solutions to the farm labor crisis. Farmers need meaningful reform that addresses the concerns of both workers and growers.”
NFU Applauds Passage of Farm Workforce Modernization Act
Bill Would Be a Step Towards a Stable and Fair Agricultural Workforce
The U.S. House of Representatives today voted in favor of the Farm Workforce Modernization Act, a bipartisan bill to reform the agricultural labor system in the United States.
The product of negotiations between a diverse array of agricultural stakeholders and farmworker advocates, the legislation balances the interests of both agricultural employers and workers. For the former, it would expand access to the H-2A guest worker program by simplifying the application process, stabilizing wages with an annual cap, and establishing an option for year-round agricultural employment. For the latter, the bill would create a pathway to legal status through continued agricultural employment.
National Farmers Union (NFU), which has called for a “flexible, efficient, and compassionate agricultural worker visa program,” was among more than 300 agricultural organizations to offer formal support for the bill. In a statement, NFU President Roger Johnson applauded the bill’s passage and urged the U.S. Senate to continue working on solutions for agricultural labor issues:
“Our current farm labor system is badly broken. It’s a time-consuming, convoluted, and restrictive process for farmers and ranchers, who often don’t have the time to spare, and it’s a dead-end for farmworkers, who currently have no straightforward path for longer-term employment or legal status.
“Farmers and farmworkers alike deserve a better, fairer system – which is what the Farm Workforce Modernization Act aims to establish. Not only would it secure a legal and adequate supply of workers for family farmers and ranchers, but it would also provide stability for the farmworkers who put food on our tables. We appreciate the work of Reps. Zoe Lofgren and Dan Newhouse and the many other representatives involved in this process, and we urge the Senate to follow their lead by reaching across the aisle to address the labor challenges faced by American agriculture.”
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