Washington, D.C. (July 12, 2022)—The National Council of Farmer Cooperatives (NCFC) today joined with the American Business Immigration Coalition, the International Fresh Produce Association, AmericanHort and the National Council of Agricultural Employers in urging Senate action to address the agricultural labor crisis.
The call came during a press conference with Representative Dan Newhouse (R-Wash.), a strong proponent of ag labor reform and a key leader in crafting the bipartisan, House-passed Farm Workforce Modernization Act (FWMA). The event was meant to rally support for the efforts of Senators Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) and Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) to introduce a Senate bill that builds on FWMA.
“For the past decade or so, I have had the privilege of bringing a wide range of agriculture groups together to work on a solution to the ag labor crisis in a united effort,” said Chuck Conner, president and CEO of NCFC at the news conference. “Yet, it’s the events of the past few years, from the COVID-19 pandemic to the war in Ukraine, that have highlighted for me a fact that often gets overlooked in this debate—our national security is tied to our ability to feed ourselves, and that ability is currently under threat from the ag labor crisis.
“Action is critical for another reason,” Conner continued. “Next year, Congress will be writing the 2023 farm bill. If the past is any guide, it will include dozens of programs critical to ensuring food security, from crop insurance to conservation, from research to nutrition. But, without action, hanging over the process will be one issue—ag labor—that threatens to undermine every program in that legislation. Quite simply, America’s farmers, ranchers, growers and co-ops cannot survive, let alone thrive, without a workforce. That is why this effort by Senators Crapo and Bennett—and subsequent Senate action—is so important. It will address a growing crisis, enhance this country’s food security, provide the foundation for the success of the next farm bill, and provide a measure of certainty for producers at a time of great uncertainty.”
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.