Letter from Ag Groups Supporting Farm Workforce Modernization Act


March 12, 2021

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi                                  The Honorable Kevin McCarthy
Speaker                                                                     Minority Leader
U.S. House of Representatives                               U.S. House of Representatives
1236 Longworth House Office Building                 2468 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515                                          Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Speaker Pelosi and Minority Leader McCarthy:

The Farm Workforce Modernization Act was passed with bipartisan support by the House of Representatives in the 116th Congress and represents the lengthy cooperative and negotiated efforts of agricultural employers and labor unions. This same bill with minimal updates was reintroduced on March 3, 2021. The undersigned groups, representing a broad cross-section of agriculture and its allies, urge you to again advance this same bill through the House to address the agricultural workforce crisis affecting our nation’s farms, and ultimately, our food security.

A stable, legal workforce is needed to ensure the United States will continue to produce an abundant, safe, and affordable food supply. Every farm employee engaged in high-value, labor-intensive crop and livestock production sustains two-to-three off-farm jobs. The critical shortage of these employees not only constrains our farmers and ranchers, but also restricts our global economic competitiveness, hinders local economies, and curbs jobs. As foreign producers take advantage of our workforce labor shortage and gain market share, America will export more of our food production and thousands of these farm-dependent jobs.

Additionally, wage volatility in the H-2A guestworker program makes it extremely difficult for farmers to use the program, as it makes the already expensive and somewhat burdensome program erratic in its price inflation. The recent release of the 2021 Adverse Effect Wage Rates (AEWRs) has once again suddenly increased farmers’ labor costs by an average of 5%, with some absorbing increases of nearly 9%, all while revenues for agricultural goods continue to diminish. These AEWR increases far outpace average wage growth across the broader U.S. economy during the same two-year span.

The unforeseen COVID-19 pandemic has further crippled agriculture and increased production costs. The loss of markets, interruption of supply chain logistics, an increasingly insufficient number of employees, and greater price volatility are just a few of the many challenges the pandemic has brought to the industry. All the while, agricultural employers have been resilient, striving to ensure a safe workspace for their employees and serving as a reliable source of jobs. No matter, with production and labor costs far outpacing revenues, agricultural employers will simply not be able to remain in business.

The House must pass legislation that preserves agriculture’s experienced workforce by allowing current farm employees to earn legal status and continue to support America’s agricultural industry. This must also include an agricultural worker visa program that provides access to a legal and reliable workforce moving forward.  This visa program should be more accessible, predictable, and flexible to meet the needs of producers, including those with year-round labor needs such as dairy and livestock, which currently do not have meaningful access to any program.

While the bill does include some provisions concerning to the agricultural community, we are committed to working together throughout the legislative process to address these issues. It is vital to move the Farm Workforce Modernization Act through the House as a significant step in addressing our labor crisis so American agriculture can continue to feed our nation and the world.


African-American Farmers of California

Ag Valley Cooperative, Non-Stock

AgCountry Farm Credit Services

Agribusiness Henderson County (NC)

Agricultural Council of California

Agri-Mark, Inc.

Alabama Farmers Cooperative, Inc.

Alabama Nursery and Landscape Association

Almond Alliance

Amalgamated Sugar Company

American AgCredit

American AgriWomen

American Beekeeping Federation

American Honey Producers Association

American Mushroom Institute

American Pistachio Growers

American Seed Trade Association

American Sheep Industry Association (ASI)


Arizona Dairy Producers Trade Association

Arizona Nursery Association

Associated Milk Producers Inc.

Aurora Organic Dairy

Bluebird Bonanza Farms

Bongards’ Creameries


California Apple Commission

California Association of Food Banks

California Association of Wheat Growers

California Avocado Commission

California Blueberry Association

California Blueberry Commission

California Canning Peach Association

California Cherry Growers and Industry Association

California Citrus Mutual

California Dairies, Inc.

California Date Commission

California Dried Plum Board

California Farm Bureau Federation

California Fig Advisory Board

California Fresh Fruit Association

California Pear Growers Association

California Seed Association

California State Floral Association

California Strawberry Commission

California Sweet Potato Council

California Tomato Growers Association

California Walnut Commission

California Warehouse Association

California Women for Agriculture

Cayuga Milk Ingredients

Center for Dairy Excellence (Pennsylvania)

Certified American Grown


CHS Inc.

Co-Alliance Cooperative, Inc.


Colorado Dairy Farmers

Colorado Nursery and Greenhouse Association

Colorado Potato Legislative Association

Cooperative Milk Producers Association

Cooperative Producers, Inc.

Costa Farms

Dairy Farmers of America, Inc.

Dairy Producers of New Mexico

Dairy Producers of Utah

Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative

Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery

Empire State Potato Growers

Far West Agribusiness Association

Farm Credit East

Farmers Cooperative

FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative

Federation of Employers and Workers of America

First District Association

Florida Agri-Women

Florida Citrus Mutual

Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association

Florida Nursery, Growers and Landscape Association

Florida Strawberry Growers Association

Florida Tomato Exchange

Food Northwest

Food Producers of Idaho

Foremost Farms USA

Frenchman Valley Farmers Cooperative Inc.

Fresh Harvest/Steve Scaroni (CA)

Fresno County Farm Bureau (CA)

Georgia Green Industry Association

Georgia Milk Producers, Inc.

Georgia Urban Ag Council

Glanbia Nutritionals

Idaho Alfalfa/Clover Seed Commission

Idaho Alfalfa/Clover Seed Growers Association

Idaho Apple Commission

Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry

Idaho Bankers Association

Idaho Cattleman’s Association

Idaho Dairymen’s Association

Idaho Eastern Oregon Seed Association

Idaho Grain Producers Association

Idaho Grower Shippers Association

Idaho Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

Idaho Hop Growers Association

Idaho Milk Products

Idaho Mint Growers Association

Idaho Nursery and Landscape Association

Idaho Onion Growers Association

Idaho Potato Commission

Idaho Sugarbeet Growers

Idaho-Oregon Fruit & Vegetable Association

Illinois Green Industry Association

Indiana Dairy Producers

Indiana Nursery and Landscape Association

Indiana Outdoor Maintenance Alliance

International Dairy Foods Association

Iowa Institute for Cooperatives

Iowa Nursery & Landscape Association

Iowa State Dairy Association

Kansas Dairy Association

Land O’Lakes, Inc.

Laurel Springs Nursery, LLC (NC)

Leitz Farms LLC/Fred Leitz (MI)

Lone Star Milk Producers

Madera County Farm Bureau (CA)

Maine Landscape & Nursery Association

Maine Potato Board

Maryland & Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative Association

Maryland Nursery, Landscape, and Greenhouse Association, Inc.

Massachusetts Nursery and Landscape Association, Inc.

MBG Marketing

McCain USA Inc.

Michigan Apple Association

Michigan Greenhouse Growers Council

Michigan Milk Producers Association

Michigan Nursery and Landscape Association

Mid Kansas Cooperative

Midwest Apple Improvement Association

Midwest Dairy Coalition

Milk Producers Council

Milk Producers of Idaho

Minnesota Milk Producers Association

Minnesota Nursery & Landscape Association

Missouri Green Industry Alliance

Montana Nursery and Landscape Association

Monterey County Farm Bureau (CA)

Mount Joy Farmers Cooperative Association

National All-Jersey Inc.

National Association of State Departments of Agriculture

National Council of Agricultural Employers

National Council of Farmer Cooperatives

National Farmers Union

National Grange

National Milk Producers Federation

National Onion Association

National Potato Council

National Young Farmers Coalition

Nebraska Cooperative Council

Nebraska State Dairy Association

New England Apple Council

New Jersey Landscape Contractors Association

New Jersey Nursery & Landscape Association

New Mexico Chapter, Colorado Nursery and Greenhouse Association

New York Apple Association

New York Farm Bureau

New York State Flower Industries

New York State Vegetable Growers Association

Nezperce Prairie Grass Growers Association

Nisei Farmers League

North American Blueberry Council

North Carolina Dairy Producers Association

North Carolina Nursery & Landscape Association

North Carolina Potato Association

Northeast Dairy Farmers Cooperatives

Northeast Dairy Producers Association, Inc.

Northern Family Farms LLP, Merrillan, WI

Northern Plains Potato Growers Association

Northwest Ag Cooperatives Council

Northwest Dairy Association/Darigold

Northwest Horticultural Council

Ohio Dairy Producers Association

Ohio Fruit Growers Marketing Association

Ohio Landscape Association

Ohio Nursery & Landscape Association

Oklahoma Nursery & Landscape Association

Olive Growers Council of California

Oneida-Madison Milk Producers Cooperative Association

Oregon Association of Nurseries

Oregon Dairy Farmers Association

Oregon Potato Commission

Pacific Northwest Christmas Tree Association

PennAg Industries Association

Pennsylvania Cooperative Potato Growers

Pennsylvania Landscape and Nursery Association

Plant California Alliance

Potato Growers of Michigan, Inc

Prairie Farms Dairy, Inc.

Professional Dairy Managers of Pennsylvania

Reiter Affiliated Companies

Rhode Island Nursery and Landscape Association

San Diego County Farm Bureau (CA)

Scioto Cooperative Milk Producers’ Association

Select Milk Producers, Inc.


South Central Idaho Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

South Dakota Association of Cooperatives

South Dakota Dairy Producers

Southeast Milk Inc.

Southern States Cooperative

Stanislaus County Farm Bureau (CA)

Sunkist Growers, Inc.

Sunmaid Growers of California

Sunsweet Growers Inc.

Tennessee Farmers Cooperative

Texas Agricultural Cooperative Council

Texas Association of Dairymen

Texas Citrus Mutual

Texas Nursery & Landscape Association

Tillamook County Creamery Association

Tree Top

Tulare County Farm Bureau (CA)

Turfgrass Producers International

U.S. Apple Association

U.S. Durum Growers Association

U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

United Dairymen of Arizona

United Fresh Produce Association

United Potato Growers of America

Upstate Niagara Cooperative, Inc.

Utah Apple Marketing Board

Utah Horticulture Association

Utah Nursery & Landscape Association

Utah Tart Cherry Marketing Board

Valley Fig Growers

Valley Vision (CA)

Ventura County Agricultural Association (CA)

Vermont Dairy Producers Alliance

Virginia Apple Growers Association

Virginia Nursery & Landscape Association

Virginia State Dairymen’s Association

Washington Growers League

Washington State Dairy Federation

Washington State Nursery & Landscape Association

Washington State Potato Commission

Washington State Tree Fruit Association

West Virginia Nursery & Landscape Association

Western Growers Association

Western Plant Health Association

Western States Dairy Producers Association

Western United Dairies


Wine Institute

Wisconsin Landscape Contractors Association

Wisconsin Potato & Vegetable Growers Association

Yuma Fresh Vegetable Association


cc: U.S. House of Representatives

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