Washington, D.C. (May 4, 2020)—The National Council of Farmer Cooperatives today asked White House officials to ensure that efforts to reform wages paid under the H-2A agricultural guest worker are equitable for farmers across the country. The call came in a letter to the National Economic Council.
“[T]he Adverse Effect Wage Rate (AEWR) has been one of the greatest barriers and limitations for farmers to successfully utilize the H-2A program due to its extremely volatile and unpredictable methodology. In fact, we have spent many years developing and analyzing various wage alternative proposals,” the letter states.
“We must ensure, particularly in these uncertain times, that we are not artificially creating additional expenses or burdens to the detriment of farmers in certain states,” the letter continues. “There are many farmers that would not be able to survive any additional wage expenses at this time.”
The letter comes after White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows recently stated in media reports that Administration officials were looking at reforming how wages in the H-2A program are calculated.
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.