Agricultural Leaders Are Demanding Legislators Get Off Their Butts And Do Something….


Certain leaders in the agriculture sector are urging U.S. senators from Kansas and Missouri to pass legislation on workforce solutions to address the farm labor shortage in order to combat inflation.

Farm owners claim that the Farm Workforce Modernization Act, which has already been approved by the House in 2021 and is currently pending in the Senate, will give them access to a steady, dependable workforce by, among other things, establishing a pathway to citizenship for undocumented agricultural workers and reforming the seasonal farmworker visa program.

Although not new, the current labor scarcity has been made worse by the epidemic, which has led to higher pricing or bare store shelves for customers. According to the U.S. Labor Statistics Bureau, food prices are currently 10% higher than they were at this time.

Although it is yet unclear when the legislation will be put up for a vote in the Senate, it has the support of hundreds of farmers and agriculture organizations because labor shortages pose problems for the food production industry.

Even in its current state, the application enjoys enormous popularity. According to reports, the number of H-2A visas climbed from 16,000 to 89,000 between 1997 and 2014.

“This is not just about cost. These are national security issues as well. Food security is national security. A nation that cannot feed itself is not a nation that is secure,” American Business Immigration Coalition Action’s (ABIC-Action) intermountain state director Enrique Sanchez claimed.

He also said that the labor shortages have hurt farmers and made it difficult to get food to retailers. He claimed that if there is less food available, it may result in higher food prices. There are additionally more immediate repercussions.

Bruce Kettler, director of the Indiana Department of Agriculture sent a letter to both of Indiana’s U.S. senators, requesting their support for the legislation.

“I firmly believe the Act will go far in securing a stable workforce, while alleviating supply chain issues and rising food prices,” Kettler wrote, adding that passage of the bill would be “transformational” for Indiana dairy and poultry farmers in their efforts to attract enough year-round workers.

In Separate letters urging Indiana’s senators to support the FWMA were also signed by representatives of the Indiana Farm Bureau, Indiana Dairy Producers, Indiana Beef Cattle Association, Indiana Vegetable Growers Association, Indiana Corn Growers Association, Indiana Soybean Alliance, and Indiana State Poultry Association.

“We are asking your support … to improve current guest worker laws and help Indiana farmers which are in desperate need of a well-trained, stable workforce,” they wrote. “Now is the time to fix our broken system. Currently, Indiana agriculture is experiencing a magnitude of difficulties staffing our farms. The work of caring for animals, milking cows, picking our fruits and vegetables is increasingly being done by an immigrant workforce. The pandemic has placed a serious strain on our food production system, but it was immigrant workers who proved to be essential by showing up to work every day.”

Sources: Dailywire, Kbia, Fox4kc


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