The NCC joined a broad coalition of agriculture organizations on a letter to House Speaker Boehner (R-Ohio), Minority Leader Pelosi (D-Calif.), Senate Majority Leader Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader McConnell (R-Ky.) encouraging them to support immigration reform that addresses agriculture’s unique workforce needs.
The letter, which cited securing a reliable agricultural workforce as essential not only for farmers but for the U.S. economy, was spearheaded by the newly formed Agriculture Workforce Coalition (AWC).
The AWC has developed a new approach that meets the workforce requirements of all of agriculture—both for those producers with seasonal labor needs and those with year-round needs.
The AWC proposal has two components: 1) in the short-term, granting work authorization for current experienced agricultural workers to preserve agriculture’s workforce and maintain stability in the sector; and 2) for long-term stability, a new market-based agricultural worker visa program would be created to provide access to a legal and reliable workforce into the future and the flexibility to meet the needs of all producers.
The letter noted that “American agriculture cannot continue as a bright spot in our economy without a legal, stable workforce. Reforms to the immigration system can ensure that our farmers and ranchers have access to the workers they need, both in the short- and long-term.These reforms require a legislative solution, such as the AWC proposal, that moves beyond past initiatives which are no longer viable to meet agriculture's needs.”
The NCC will continue to monitor all of the immigration reform proposals being put forth as Congress could take up immigration reform this year.
More from Western Farm Press