A Labor Plague on U.S. Ag

A Labor Plague on U.S. Ag

Haylie Shipp
Haylie Shipp
With California Ag Today, I am Haylie Shipp. This is the Ag Information Network.

Labor shortages continue to plague U.S. farmers and ranchers. The American Farm Bureau recently sent a letter to USDA and the Department of Labor on the issue. John Walt Boatright, director of government affairs with AFBF…

“USDA has a purview over the farm labor survey, which determines the wage rates for the H2A Program. We asked them to really reevaluate and look at the farm labor survey to make improvements in those areas. And then the second major thing that we asked for from the Department of Labor is a willingness and an interest to really engage with farmers and ranchers and understand the challenges that they're faced with.”

In addition to the specific goals outlined in the letter, Boatright says there is a more general purpose to engaging with DOL and USDA…

“The real goal is also to continue a productive and meaningful conversation, to recognize these challenges, admit that there needs to be action taken, and how do we as a group of people try to improve the situation?”

He says the conversation around labor reform is at a stalemate…

“The frustrating part is that we continue to hear the outcry from farm country that these issues need to be addressed, and unfortunately, there seems to be little action taking place. So, we're hopeful that this type of engagement will help jump-start some of those conversations.”

John Walt Boatright of the American Farm Bureau.

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