Washington, D.C. (August 6, 2022)—351 agricultural trade associations, agribusinesses and farmer co-ops today urged Senate action on an agriculture labor reform bill before the end of the year. The call came in a letter to Senate leadership in both parties that was copied to all 100 Senators.
“Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID) are working on legislation to provide stability for our existing workers and make key reforms to the H-2A program, the visa program farmers use to hire legal workers to supplement their U.S. workforce. The House has passed legislation already and it is time now for the Senate to act before the end of the year,” the groups said. “The House bill is not perfect and needs improvements. The Senators are working to address many of those concerns and provide stability to farmers across the country. Without immediate action by the Senate, the federal government’s outdated policies and broken immigration system are forcing many farmers to consider whether they can continue in labor-intensive agriculture.”
The letter noted that reform is especially critical since the inability of producers to find the workers they need to harvest crops and care for animals is hurting domestic agricultural production and helping to contribute to food price inflation.
Action is especially critical now since next year will bring a new Congress with a change in committee leadership. This means that the process must start anew, delaying a solution to this problem for several years that farmers across the country can ill afford.
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.