Western Growers along with organizations representing a historically broad cross-section of agricultural employers announced the formation of the Agriculture Workforce Coalition (AWC). In coming together through this coalition, the agriculture community is able to speak with a unified voice in seeking legislation to provide our producers a stable and skilled workforce.

Western Growers President and CEO, Tom Nassif, who for more than a decade has been a leader in the effort for agricultural immigration reform, said, “We have an unprecedented opportunity now that Democrats and Republicans are having a serious conversation about the critical need for immigration reform—an opportunity that cannot be wasted.  Agricultural employers have come together as never before in lock-step and agreement about a workable proposal that will serve the needs of farmers, workers and the American people. The time for immigration reform is now.”

The fresh produce industry relies on a skilled workforce to grow, harvest, and pack the nation’s healthiest foods.  Nassif said, “In labor intensive agriculture, our employees are the most important asset in our operations. These individuals in many cases are like family. If the United States is to maintain a stable and secure food supply, and our rural communities are to remain economically strong, we must ensure that this workforce has legal status.”

Western Growers members face an acute crisis, in some cases fruit and vegetables have been left rotting in fields not for lack of good prices but for lack of an adequate labor supply.  Western Growers looks forward to working with our champions in Congress during the comings days and weeks to bring this labor crisis to a resolution during 2013. Additional information about the AWC can be found at the coalition website: www.agworkforcecoalition.org