The Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association (GFVGA) expressed disappointment following the news that agriculture labor reform was left out of the Omnibus spending package being finalized in Congress.
Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO) introduced the Affordable Secure Food Act last week. It was a counterpart to the Farm Worker Modernization Act that was passed by the House in 2021. The GFVGA said in its emailed response that the bill failed to gain traction to be attached to the Omnibus bill.
“For Georgia growers, we see yet another failed attempt to provide common sense reform to a broken ag labor system,” Butts said. “Our growers are staring down the barrel of a 14% wage increase in 2023 that will cost Georgia producers well over $100 million in 2023 alone. We are at the intersection of bad labor and bad trade policies that threaten the very future of our industry in Georgia. These failed policies will result in economic loss to Georgia and will only increase our nation’s reliance on foreign suppliers for our food.”
The GFVGA will continue to work with industry partners in response to the announced 14% Adverse Effect Wage Rate increase that will take effect on Jan. 1, 2023.
“As the dust settles from this latest attempt at broader ag labor reform, we must continue to push for policy changes that will bring desperately needed stability to our labor markets,” the GFVGA announced in its email. “The politics of labor reform are messy and complicated. But despite these challenges, it is time for all agriculture to coalesce and unite behind an ag labor policy that will provide a documented, stable and dependable workforce. Without this we will lose the ability to feed our nation. GFVGA will continue this fight.”