Ag Labor with Sonny Perdue Pt 2

Ag Labor with Sonny Perdue Pt 2

Bob Larson
Bob Larson
With today's Fruit Grower Report, I'm Bob Larson. The best answer to fixing the Ag labor shortage and the H-2A guestworker visa program is to go about it legislatively.

That was the message from Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue while visiting with Washington farmers and ranchers in Richland recently.

Perdue, joined by Representative Dan Newhouse, said streamlining the program is key ...

PERDUE ... "We have gotten an agreement now with the Department of Labor where it, Department of Agriculture could be the intake. We will have an electronic signup there very soon through our website. Everybody can remember right? And, there will be a part where you can go and apply for your H-2A workers."

Perdue says it would be much less complicated ...

PERDUE ... "It will be a lot simpler. You can think of a Turbo-Tax model. We still have to put all that information over to the Department of Labor, but you're not going to get something back from Labor saying you didn't dot the I correctly and then you send it back and Homeland Security says well you didn't cross the T correctly. That's the kind of silliness that's been happening there. So, we hope to provide a kind of broker relationship there as a friendly face to farmers on H-2A."

Newhouse says it's of particular importance here ...

NEWHOUSE ... "Unfortunately, not everywhere in the country has the same dynamic we do here in Central Washington. And, not everybody gets the critical nature of the Ag Labor situation so we need to communicate that."

Perdue encouraged the crowd saying the President "gets it" and absolutely knows we need a LEGAL immigration workforce that works for everyone."

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