Farm Workforce Modernization Act Pt 2

Farm Workforce Modernization Act Pt 2

Bob Larson
Bob Larson
With today’s Fruit Grower Report, I’m Bob Larson. Led by U.S. Representatives Dan Newhouse of Sunnyside, and California Democrat Zoe Lofgren, the Farm Workforce Modernization Act passed a House vote last week and now moves to the Senate.

The need for this legislation, Newhouse says, is no secret …

NEWHOUSE … “Farmers all over the country, if you talk to them, will tell you that the critical nature of the labor situation is truly a detriment to their ability to be successful so I’m just very happy that we’re able to take this step so that we can move closer to finding a good solution to bring a certainty to the ag labor situation in our country.”

But, he says the impeachment battle could cause delays in the Senate …

NEWHOUSE … “That will have to be dispensed with before other things are considered by the Senate so it could well be several weeks into the new year before real work is done.”

So, this may be a long way from over …

NEWHOUSE … “Yeah, I’m under no illusions that the Farm Workforce Modernization Act is a “done deal.” You know the Senate is a separate body and they may introducer their own bill. They may take our bill up and use it as a beginning, a foundation for work that they do, but there’s no guarantees in this business and I’m just saying our work is not done. We’ll have to continue pushing forward and encouraging them to take action. And, I’m not going to take anything for granted there. We’ll be engaged with them as much as possible.”

Newhouse says creating a legal and reliable workforce for American ag has been one of his top priorities since coming to Congress.

The first major ag labor reform since 1986 would provide a program for agricultural workers to earn legal status in the U.S., H-2A reforms, and establish a mandatory E-Verify system for all ag employment.

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