Close to 300 agricultural groups, including some in Alabama, Florida and Georgia, were part of an Agriculture Workforce Coalition that sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell this week, urging the passing of an agriculture labor reform bill.
The letter outlined multiple challenges facing farmers. But the domestic labor shortage remains near the top of the list.
“We must address this workforce crisis threatening farmers across the United States so our producers can continue to feed, clothe and fuel our nation,” the letter read. “Doing so requires providing stability for our existing workers and key reforms to the H-2A program, the visa program farmers use to hire legal workers to supplement their U.S. workforce. We implore the Senate to put forward its ideas and solutions to pass legislation in a bipartisan manner to address our agricultural workforce challenges.”
Among the groups represented included the Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association, Alabama Farmers Federation, Alabama Nursery and Landscape Association, Florida Agri-Women, Florida Citrus Mutual, Florida Farm Bureau Federation, Florida Nursery, Growers and Landscape Association, Florida Strawberry Growers Association, Florida Tomato Exchange, Georgia Farm Bureau, Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association, Georgia Green Industry Association, Georgia Milk Producers, Inc., Georgia Peach Council and Georgia Urban Ag Council.
The group also outlined other concerns with H-2A program, saying it is “cumbersome” and “expensive.”
“As representatives of agricultural organizations throughout the United States, we stand ready to help you develop and pass legislation to fully address the needs of American farmers by stabilizing the current workforce, addressing enormous costs to use the H-2A program and enabling year-round producers to access the H-2A program,” the letter added.
Click here to read the full letter.