Senate urged to advance farm labor bill

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New analysis from Texas A&M shows that an increase in H-2A work visas lowers inflation and unemployment and raises wages and GDP. While speaking outside the Capitol building at a press conference on July 12, Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-Wash., said Congress today had a solution to do just that by urging the Senate to pass the Agricultural Workforce Modernization Act.

“By ensuring a legal and reliable agricultural workforce, we can secure our food supply, strengthen our national security and avert disasters, reduce food costs for all Americans, increase wages and reduce unemployment for all workers. Americans by creating value-added upstream jobs. for Americans,” Newhouse says, adding that this is not just rhetoric, but backed up by new data from Texas A&M.

Newhouse organized a press conference with the American Business Immigration Coalition Action, the National Council of Agricultural Co-operatives, the International Fresh Produce Association, AmericanHort and the National Council of Agricultural Employers to urge the Senate to pass the bill which has stalled after passage in the room.

The Agricultural Workforce Modernization Act, which passed the House for the second time in March 2021, creates a labor solution for the U.S. agricultural industry. The House-approved bill would establish a program for agricultural workers in the United States to gain legal status through continued agricultural employment and contribution to the American agricultural economy.

It also reforms the H-2A program to provide more flexibility for employers, while ensuring essential protections for workers. The bill emphasizes changes to make the program more responsive and employer-friendly and gives access to the program to industries with year-round labor needs. Additionally, it establishes a nationwide mandatory E-Verify system for all agricultural jobs with a structured phased introduction and guaranteed due process for authorized workers who are wrongfully rejected by the system.

“Over the past decade, I have had the privilege of bringing together a wide range of farm groups to work together on a solution to the farm labor crisis,” said Chuck Conner, president and CEO of the management of NCFC, at the press conference. “Yet it is the events of the past few years, from the COVID-19 pandemic to the war in Ukraine, that have highlighted to me a fact that is often overlooked in this debate: our national security is tied to our ability to feed us. , and this capacity is currently threatened by the agricultural labor crisis.

Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, says he’s “living proof that you can actually go out and talk about immigration and win an election.” On his visits to farmers, labor shortage is the #1 problem he hears and says it’s “the most important thing we can do for agriculture” by adopting the law Project.

The event was intended to rally support for the efforts of the Sens. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, and Michael Bennett, D-Colo., To introduce a Senate bill that builds on the FWMA.

Conner says the action is key for another reason regarding the need to move the farm labor bill forward.

“Next year, Congress will write the 2023 Farm Bill. If the past is any guide, it will include dozens of programs essential to ensuring food security, from crop insurance to conservation, from research to nutrition But, without action, the process will hang on an issue — farm labor — that threatens to undermine every program of this legislation. not survive, let alone thrive, without a workforce.

“That’s why this effort by Senators Crapo and Bennett — and the subsequent Senate action — is so important,” Conner said. “It will solve a growing crisis, improve this country’s food security, lay the foundation for the success of the next farm bill, and provide a measure of certainty for producers at a time of great uncertainty.”

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