E-Verify. I’m Greg Martin with today’s Fruit Grower Report.

More and more states are looking at adopting some form of E-Verify which is a arguably a quick and easy way to check the eligibility of workers. All northwest states have either adopted or are looking to adopt E-Verify. Washington Congressman Doc Hastings has not made his mind up yet whether it will get his vote but earlier this week he was quoted saying “There has to be special consideration for the agriculture community.”

American Farm Bureau Labor Specialist Paul Schlegel says the Legal Workforce Act would have rough ramifications for U.S. agriculture.

SCHLEGEL: The difficulty with E-Verify for agriculture in particular is we currently do not have in place a system that allows us to get legal workers. We hear stories from all across the country about the difficulties farmers have in getting workers who are authorized to work and if E-Verify is required of farmers without giving us a workable program, we’re just very concerned about the potential effect on the sector.  

Schlegel adds that Congress has been promising a fix for the foreign agricultural worker program, known as H2A, for 25 years, but still no fix is in sight.

SCHLEGEL: Our economic study at Farm Bureau says that we have five to nine billion dollars a year in production that’s in jeopardy if we cannot make this system work. It also would mean a potential drop in net farm income of between 1.5 and 3 billion dollars a year. 

More tomorrow.

That’s today’s Fruit Grower Report. I’m Greg Martin on the Ag Information Network. 

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