Western Growers and United Fresh Respond to Farm Workforce Modernization Act
WASHINGTON, DC - This week, the House Judiciary Committee passed the Farm Workforce Modernization Act, and the industry is celebrating. This places the legislation one step closer to getting passed by the full House of Representatives and, as a result, implementing significant modernization into the agricultural labor system.
“Western Growers applauds today’s passage of the Farm Workforce Modernization Act in the House Judiciary Committee,” said Tom Nassif, President and CEO of Western Growers. “We thank the lead authors, Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren and Congressman Dan Newhouse, and the bipartisan group of legislators who have negotiated and supported this bill. Throughout the U.S., agriculture is experiencing a critical shortage of labor that jeopardizes our ability to continue producing an abundant, safe, and affordable domestic food supply. Securing a reliable and skilled workforce is critical to the future viability of America’s family farms.”
In addition to 29 Democratic and 23 Republican co-sponsors, the bipartisan bill has earned the widespread support of nearly 300 agricultural organizations, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and farm worker unions, according to Western Grower’s statement. Support of the bill also includes that of United Fresh Produce Association’s President and CEO, Tom Stenzel.
“The Farm Workforce Modernization Act is a testament to the tenacity of members of Congress on both sides of the aisle to bring much needed reform to the agriculture industry. The sustainability of American agriculture is at stake if our labor situation is not addressed,” said Stenzel. “It is imperative that the House act quickly to pass this legislation. This bipartisan bill is cosponsored by nearly two dozen Republican members of Congress, demonstrating wide support. We believe a strong vote in the House will lead the way for the Senate to follow suit to finally address the labor crisis in American agriculture.”
According to a United Fresh press release, the bill provides much needed reforms to secure a stable and legal workforce in agriculture, allowing current farm workers to attain legal status and reforming the H-2A guest worker program to ensure a future source of workers on American farms.
“By protecting existing, experienced farm workers, and streamlining the agricultural guest worker program to provide a more accessible, predictable, and flexible future flow of labor, the Farm Workforce Modernization Act contains real solutions to the labor crisis facing the industry,” continued Nassif. “While the Farm Workforce Modernization Act is not perfect, we remain committed to working through the legislative process to address our outstanding concerns, and encourage the Speaker to bring this bill before the House floor for a vote as soon as possible.”
As the Farm Workforce Modernization Act continues on to the House, AndNowUKnow will continue to follow along with all updates.