Industry associations support the reintroduction of the bipartisan Farm Workforce Modernization Act, H.R. 1537.
“The Farm Workforce Modernization Act introduced by Chairwoman Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) and Representative Dan Newhouse (R-WA) is a testament to the efforts the agriculture industry and our friends in labor and the bipartisan members of Congress who are supporting this legislation,” said Tom Stenzel, CEO of the United Fresh Produce Association. “There remains work to be done to address our industry’s labor challenges. But this bill is an integral first step towards achieving our ultimate goal. United Fresh Produce Association and its members have pushed for this reform for many years and we look forward to working with Congress and the Administration to make it a reality.”
“The U.S. Apple Association applauds yesterday’s reintroduction of the bipartisan Farm Workforce Modernization Act, H.R. 1537. This legislation is a necessary and important first step in addressing the labor crisis growers and other farmers are experiencing. We thank Reps. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) Dan Newhouse (R-Wash.) and others for reintroducing this meaningful agriculture labor reform that will greatly benefit the U.S. apple industry, which relies heavily on foreign-born labor,” said Jim Bair, president and CEO of the U.S. Apple Association.
“Like the legislation that passed the House in 2019 with broad, bipartisan support, the 2021 Farm Workforce Modernization Act will stabilize the current agricultural workforce by creating a process for them to gain work authorization to continue working in agriculture. The legislation introduced yesterday is substantively the same legislation as in 2019, but includes technical updates to reflect the passing of time,” said Bair.
“The bill also brings needed modernization and cost containment to the H-2A agricultural guest worker program. It represents a significant improvement over the status quo for our growers in the H-2A program and those who employ domestic workers. The legislation is a compromise and the first step in a lengthy process. We will continue to provide input and seek improvements as that process moves forward.”
“Each year growers coast to coast face uncertainty as to whether there will be sufficient labor to harvest the crop. The current system causes an unstable situation for apple growers and farmers who depend on immigrant labor to bring Americans healthy and affordable food. A stable, legal and reliable workforce is critical if we are to continue to have a vibrant domestic apple supply. For these reasons, we urge Congress to pass this legislation so that it can move to the Senate.”