The following statement may be attributed to American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall:
“Legislation advanced by the House Judiciary Committee falls short of a long-term solution to farm labor shortages, which constitute one of the most significant barriers to farm success in several regions of the country.
“Before the bill was introduced, modifications were made in response to concerns raised by our members. While welcome, these changes unfortunately fall short of assuring that American producers will be able to keep their farms going, and the committee yesterday failed to adopt any amendments that would have improved the legislation for agricultural producers.
“We also know that once Congress passes legislation, no one will have an appetite to revisit the issue and simply put, this bill’s approach is not yet good enough. We need a program that U.S. farmers and ranchers can afford and that allows them to remain competitive in the long term with foreign imports.”
Changes made to the Farm Workforce Modernization Act prior to introduction improve the ability of farmers to retain H-2A workers, take a small step toward protecting farmers from frivolous litigation, and add a study to examine whether the H-2A program affects U.S. farmers’ ability to compete with foreign ag imports.
The key amendments needed would ensure a fair and competitive wage rate and limitations on the use of federal courts to solve workplace grievances. AFBF appreciates the continued dialogue with Members of Congress and interest in improving the bill.