Ag Labor with Sonny Perdue Pt 1

Ag Labor with Sonny Perdue Pt 1

Bob Larson
Bob Larson
With today's Fruit Grower Report, I'm Bob Larson. Farm labor shortages are hitting farmers across the country and right here at home very hard, but it's not a problem that's gone unnoticed by Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue.

As part of his nation-wide listening tour, Perdue was in Richland recently with Representative Dan Newhouse to talk with producers looking for answers ...

PERDUE ... "And, obviously statutorily is the best way to go and I know that Congressmen Newhouse and McMorris-Rogers are looking for the opportunity to vote on a legal, agricultural workforce later. They've been promised that. That's the best way to get it done.

But, Perdue says this is not about illegal immigration ...

PERDUE ... "Regardless of the rhetoric you hear from President Trump over illegal immigration. Many people don't like to differentiate that. He's talking about illegal immigration, but he absolutely knows that we need a legal guestworker program for agriculture that works and I know that Dan and Kathy do as well, and that's what we're trying to work towards and we need it sooner rather than later because we're seeing people not grow things because they can't get it harvested."

Newhouse added they hope to have some answers soon ...

NEWHOUSE ... "We're working hard in Congress to get something done as it relates to ag labor. The Speaker and the Majority Leader have committed to me and others publicly that we will have a vote this July. It's not going to be easy though."

That bill hasn't been released yet, but it could include an H-2A replacement, and an E-verify requirement for ag employers.

Tune in tomorrow for more on Perdue's ideas to streamline the guestworker program.

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