Washington, D.C. (May 5, 2020)—The National Council of Farmer Cooperatives (NCFC) today urged Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue to intervene with the State Department to urge them to work with the Mexican government to ensure that H-2A agricultural guest workers can reach U.S. consulates in that country.
“[R]ecent guidance and quarantine orders within individual Mexican states has restricted the ability of H-2A workers to reach U.S. consulates,” NCFC president and CEO Chuck Conner said in the letter. “We must continue to protect their safety while traveling to the job site and we must find a way to do so in a timely and efficient manner that does not arbitrarily delay the arrival of this critical workforce.”
There have been increasing reports that differing quarantine laws and definitions of “essential workers” are causing difficulties to moving between various Mexican states. This causes problems for H-2A workers who need to travel from their home states to an adjacent one where the U.S. consulate is located.
“We ask you to encourage the State Department to reiterate with the Mexican government the importance of finding a resolution to this H-2A situation and the impact this workforce has on our food supply,” the letter states. “We sincerely appreciate your tireless work on behalf of American agriculture and stand ready to work with you to develop collaborative solutions that both protect the health and safety of our critical workforce while also minimizing disruptions to the food supply chain.”
A copy of the letter is available at: http://ncfc.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/NCFC-Letter-to-Perdue-RE-Mexican-Quarantine-Orders-FINAL.pdf.
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.