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New Labor Rule Buries Farmers in Regulations

John Walt Boatright

Director, Government Affairs

Chad Smith

Associate News Service Editor, NAFB

photo credit: Colorado Farm Bureau, Used with Permission

The Labor Department recently issued yet another lengthy workforce rule, this time related to the H2-A program. Chad Smith has more on the concerns AFBF has with the rule, including farm privacy and burdensome regulations.

Smith: A new rule from the Department of Labor is once again adding to the regulatory burden of farmers and ranchers. John Walt Boatright, director of government affairs with the American Farm Bureau Federation, says that while farmers care about their employees, this rule goes too far by claiming farmers are guilty until proven innocent.
Boatright: Initially very concerned with the breadth of ambiguity in the rule, definitely some concerning provisions that are going to amount to more compliance costs for farmers and ranchers around the country. Like we always say and know, farmers and ranchers care about their employees. This will lead to some very concerning next steps for farmers and ranchers.
Smith: Not only is it a financial burden with new costs, but the new rule also means employers will need to spend money on lawyers to help them interpret the new regulations.
Boatright: Over the past 18 months, we've seen nearly 3,000 pages of new regulations affecting agricultural employers and specifically H-2A employers. So, this is going to be an extraordinary undertaking that we’ll have to rely on lawyers to help decipher these new rules and regs.
Smith: He wants farmers and ranchers to let their elected officials know this rule is unacceptable.
Boatright: Well, certainly communicating with members of Congress is always important, letting them know the impact this is going to have to the agricultural economy and how important it is for us to have a stable and reliable workforce and this challenges that reality.
Smith:Learn more at fb.org. Chad Smith, Washington.