The United Fresh Produce Association BB #:145458 sent this member alert:
March 4, 2021 — Bipartisan legislation titled the Farm Workforce Modernization Act has been reintroduced by the Chairwoman of Immigration and Citizenship Subcommittee Chairwoman of Immigration Subcommittee Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) and Congressman Dan Newhouse (R-WA) last night.
This is the same agriculture immigration bill that was passed in the House of Representatives in 2019. The legislation has the support of Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle and is expected to come to the House floor before the end of March.
We are asking you, United Fresh Members, to take action and join your colleagues to send a strong industry supply chain letter to the House Leadership. Please consider having your company join this effort. To view the letter and register your support use the following link:
Support Agriculture Immigration Reform
It is important that Congress hear directly from our industry. We hope you will consider signing the letter and attending the briefings next week. We will continue to provide additional information and updates as they become available on this important legislative effort.
For more information, contact John Hollay, United Fresh Senior Director of Government Affairs, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
United Fresh President and CEO Tom Stenzel released the following statement:
“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 of course to the bipartisan members of Congress who are supporting this legislation. 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.”
U.S. Apple Association BB #:145473 President & CEO Jim Bair released this statement:
“The U.S. Apple Association applauds today’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.
“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 today is substantively the same legislation as in 2019, but includes technical updates to reflect the passing of time.
“The bill also brings needed modernization and cost containment to the H-2A agricultural guestworker 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 not only apple growers, but for all 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.”