> Newsline

Farm Bureau Members Advocate for a Labor Fix

Chad Smith

Associate News Service Editor, NAFB

photo credit: Colorado Farm Bureau, Used with Permission

Farmers and ranchers from across the country descended on Capitol Hill this week to talk about labor challenges. Chad Smith has more on the decades-long push for solutions.

Smith: Farm Bureau members went to Capitol Hill to talk with their senators and representatives about a labor shortage that’s reaching critical levels. Arizona farmer John Boelts says the current system of utilizing H2-A workers is no longer viable.
Boelts: We've been short of workers for well over two decades, and over the last year or two, we've been watching the use of that explode. When we're seeing H-2A used that heavily, we're in crisis mode in U.S. agriculture. It's an expensive program to use. It's bureaucratically challenging, and it takes a reasonable manner of expertise to navigate the system and actually get workers.
Smith: He says the farmers went to Capitol Hill to advocate for two key changes.
Boelts: We’re back here asking particularly for a freeze in the Adverse Effect Wage Rate that's part of the H-2A program and asking for a suspension to the disaggregated worker pay rates that were introduced in 2023 so that more farms can stay in business because we have really got to that point where we're so desperate that farms are deciding to shut down.
Smith: Boelts is asking other farmers and ranchers to get involved in advocating for a labor fix.
Boelts: Call and contact their representatives in Congress and talk to folks with the administration about the issue, but also ask their workers and their employees to speak up to change this situation for all employers and employees. And I think the consumer needs to get the message as well, so we need to be talking to consumers, and we need to be talking to our customers.
Smith: Learn more at fb.org/labor. Chad Smith, Washington.

Related Issue:


Read More