Washington, D.C. (December 15, 2022)—The National Council of Farmer Cooperatives (NCFC) today applauded legislation introduced by Senator Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) that would address the labor crisis being faced by farmers and ranchers across the country. The bill, titled the Safe and Affordable Food Act, provides stability for our existing workers and makes key reforms to the H-2A program, the visa program producers use to hire legal temporary workers to supplement the available U.S. workforce.
“American agriculture is being threatened to its very core by labor shortages and skyrocketing labor costs. You simply cannot call yourself a friend of the American farmer and not be involved in fixing this problem,” said NCFC President and CEO Chuck Conner at a press conference announcing the legislation this morning. “The legislation being proposed by Senator Bennet this morning is a compromise, but it represents a huge win for American agriculture with real and tangible help to the American farmer, rancher, and grower. It should be passed immediately.”
Conner urged the Senate to pass the bill before the end of the year, since without action this Congress, ag labor reform will be off the table for years to come while the labor crisis and its devastating impact on farmers continues.
“No one from either side of the political aisle disagrees on the solution to this problem,” Conner concluded. “Why wait? Do not delay! Act now in support of American agriculture!”
Since 1929, NCFC has been the voice of America’s farmer cooperatives. Our members are regional and national farmer cooperatives, which are in turn composed of nearly 2,000 local farmer cooperatives across the country. NCFC members also include 26 state and regional councils of cooperatives. Farmer cooperatives allow individual farmers the ability to own and lead organizations that are essential for continued competitiveness in both the domestic and international markets.
America’s farmer-owned cooperatives provide a comprehensive array of services for their members. These diverse organizations handle, process and market virtually every type of agricultural commodity. They also provide farmers with access to infrastructure necessary to manufacture, distribute and sell a variety of farm inputs. Additionally, they provide credit and related financial services, including export financing.