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Farm Bureau doesn’t support ag labor reform bill

Side view of the front of the US capitol building.

Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) sponsored and is looking for support for the Affordable and Secure Food Act, introduced December 15.

Many produce industry companies and groups, including the International Fresh Produce Association BB #:378962, support the bill.

But the American Farm Bureau Federation is not among them.

Sam Kieffer, AFBF vice president, public policy, said in a statement, “We appreciate Senator Bennet for his efforts to find solutions to the labor challenges facing America’s farmers. Sen. Bennet’s proposal is an improvement over the House-passed Farm Workforce Modernization Act, but we need a solution that meets today’s farm and ranch demands from day one. For that reason, AFBF does not support the proposal and seeks additional improvements.

“It’s problematic that the proposal codifies the flawed methodology of the Department of Labor’s farm labor survey, which has led to wild swings in wage rates that are beyond the reach of many farmers. Farmers and their employees need a system that provides long-term stability. We will continue to work with lawmakers to find solutions that meet the needs of American agriculture and ensure an abundant food supply for families in the U.S. and abroad.”

IFPA said December 20 that the labor bill was not included in the omnibus spending bill, which was “extremely disappointing.”


Greg Johnson is Director of Media Development for Blue Book Services