A total of 351 agricultural trade associations, agribusinesses and farmer co-ops on Tuesday sent senators a letter urging them to act on an agriculture labor reform bill before the end of the year. The call came in a letter to Senate leadership in both parties that was copied to all 100 senators.
The groups noted that Sens. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., and Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, “are working on legislation to provide stability for our existing workers and make key reforms to the H-2A program, the visa program farmers use to hire legal workers to supplement their U.S. workforce.” They noted that the House has already passed the Farm Workforce Modernization Act.
“The House bill is not perfect and needs improvements. The senators are working to address many of those concerns and provide stability to farmers across the country. Without immediate action by the Senate, the federal government’s outdated policies and broken immigration system are forcing many farmers to consider whether they can continue in labor-intensive agriculture.”
Many farm groups support the Farm Workforce Modernization Act. The bill is not supported by the American Farm Bureau Federation, but it is supported by the California Farm Bureau.
The letter was distributed by the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives. The groups signing the letter include the International Dairy Foods Association, whose members are scheduled to call for passage of an ag labor reform bill today.
The letter was sent amid reports that Sens. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., and Thom Tillis, R-N.C., are working on a bill that would aid the young immigrants known as the Dreamers who were brought to the United States as small children and measures to tighten up border security.