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March 18, 2014

New Report Proves Ag Labor Reform is Necessary

For more information on Newsline, contact: Kari Barbic, Media Specialist, American Farm Bureau Federation, karib@fb.org.

The Partnership for a New American Economy and the Agriculture Coalition for Immigration Reform released a new report this morning titled No Longer Home Grown: How Labor Shortages are Increasing America’s Reliance on Imported Fresh Produce and Slowing U.S. Economic Growth. The report focuses on how the U.S. labor shortage affects fresh produce imports. Seanica Otterby has the story.
OtterbyThe No Longer Home Grown report released today shows some interesting results, according to American Farm Bureau ag labor specialist Kristi Boswell. Boswell says there’s an emphasis on fresh produce and locally grown products, which should be increasing market share for American farmers.
BoswellUnfortunately, the study showed just the opposite that actually our fresh produce market is declining while this high demand is increasing, and that’s solely because of labor.
OtterbyIn fact, the report shows fresh produce imports consumed by American families have increased by 79.3 percent in recent years. Boswell says the report proves ag labor reform is necessary because the nation’s food security could suffer if Congress doesn’t take action.
BoswellWe want to make sure that we provide the safest and most affordable food product. And the only way we can guarantee that is to grow it in American soil, and we have to have the labor to pick that crop once it’s planted.
OtterbyThe report was released in conjunction with the I Farm Immigration campaign, which Boswell says has been very successful so far.
BoswellWe will continue to promote, using hashtag #IFarmImmigration, on social media, still working in districts and educating members of Congress on the need for immigration reform and the need for them to act this year.
OtterbySeanica Otterby, Washington.

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