Agriculture Labor Reform
Washington--Farmers and ranchers need a reliable, skilled workforce. Farm work is challenging, often seasonal and transitory, and it’s not easy to find American workers to take on these jobs. Farm labor can’t all be replaced by machines either. There are certain farm jobs, like tending livestock and pruning or picking fresh produce, which require a human touch. Where American workers are unwilling or unavailable, workers from other countries have stepped in.
Congress needs to pass responsible immigration reform that addresses agriculture’s current experienced workforce and creates a new flexible guest worker program. Instability in the agricultural workforce places our food supply at risk--increasing immigration enforcement without also reforming our worker visa program will cost America $60 billion in agricultural production.
Farm Bureau supports legislative reform that provides access to a legal and stable agricultural workforce in the short- and long-term.
Stability will be provided through:
• The creation of a new market-based visa program that is available to both seasonal and year round farmers, administered by the USDA, and that provides flexibility for employers and workers by allowing contract and at-will employment options, and
• An adjustment of status for experienced, but unauthorized, agricultural workers.