Ag Labor and Wages Pt 2

Ag Labor and Wages Pt 2

Bob Larson
Bob Larson
With today’s Fruit Grower Report, I’m Bob Larson. For farmers, 2022 means facing a slew of unresolved issues, including the Farm Workforce Modernization Act. As a result, the Adverse Effect Wage Rate is forecast to be $17.41 an hour this year.

Northwest Horticultural Council president, Mark Powers says sure, it could be worse, but doing nothing is not the answer …

POWERS … “Is it perfect? No. Would we wish it was higher? Yes. But right now, doing nothing has resulted in, you know, a 6% increase, right? And so we’re trying to find some sort of ability for growers to plan and to get lower rates and their administrative changes and other things.”

Powers says government typically moves slowly and that’s not always a bad thing…

POWERS … “On the labor side it’s actually, I think, the reverse. I wish that they had acted years ago because the lack of action is putting people out of business.”

And that, Powers says was avoidable …

POWERS … “This increase of $1.39, over what it would have been, or the 6% to $17.41, it’s going to put people out of business. There will be fewer growers, and that’s my message to Congress and anybody that’ll listen is that the more you postpone, the more inflation kicks in and the more that it automatically goes up, and we need to change that.”

Powers says he hopes the Senate can finally pass the Farm Workforce Modernization Act that could bring some H-2A and wage rate reform.

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