There is no current legislation moving in Congress to address agricultural labor issues. At this time there are no know prospects of useful legislation being progressed in either House during 2015 or 2016 although NCAE and others continue to work for reforms that will adequately address Americas agricultural labor needs now and in the long-term.
America’s farmers and ranchers face a critical shortage of legally authorized and experienced workers, which negatively impacts our economic competitiveness, local economies, and jobs. Every farm worker engaged in high-value labor-intensive crop and livestock production sustains two to three off-farm but farm dependent jobs. We cannot continue allowing foreign producers to take advantage of our labor crisis.
The agricultural industry seeks a legislative framework that provides actionable solutions for agriculture’s labor needs. Including:
- An opportunity for current workers to obtain legal status
- A program to ensure an adequate, productive and competitive agricultural workforce in the future
The resulting worker visa program needs to be market-based and have the flexibility to meet the needs of all producers, including those with year-round labor needs, such as dairy and livestock.
Following are some useful links:
NCAE is proud to participate in the Agriculture Workforce Coalition, a group of leading agricultural associations standing together to work with Congress for positive legislative change that will assure current and future access to farm labor that is fair to workers, farmers, and the consuming public. The Agriculture Workforce Coalition (AWC) brings together organizations representing the diverse needs of agricultural employers across the country. AWC serves as the unified voice of agriculture in the effort to ensure that America’s farmers, ranchers and growers have access to a stable and secure workforce now and in the future.
Senate 744 proposed in 2013 was negotiated by a large group of agricultural representatives but failed to move in the House.
House bill 1147 (2015), another enforcement only proposal, proposes mandatory E-Verify use but does not address the current ag workforce or offer a stable/workable future flow.
The BARN Act, reintroduced in 2015, offers some useful elements but does not address the existing workforce, nor is there much chance it could progress.