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IFPA calls for member action to demand wage relief

Side view of the front of the US capitol building.

January 25, 2024 Washington, DC – International Fresh Produce Association BB #:378962 has announced support for the Supporting Farm Operations Act (HR 7046), an immediate and meaningful measure to address wage relief.

The legislation freezes the Adverse Effect Wage Rate (AEWR), the wage rate that must be paid to H-2A Visa holders and their domestic counterparts. IFPA is urging members to contact their Members of Congress to co-sponsor this bill.

“Out-of-control labor costs are already dampening domestic fresh produce production, so we know that additional increases would have a devastating impact on the entire supply chain,” said Cathy Burns, CEO of the International Fresh Produce Association.

“Congressman’s Moolenaar’s common-sense legislation freezes AEWR increases for two years, giving immediate relief and enough certainty for our industry to perform while Congress works on broader reforms that will bring stability to our labor force and long-term food security for our nation.”

While the Supporting Farm Operations Act (HR 7046) doesn’t address the full scope of IFPA’s demand for reform on Labor, it does provide immediate and meaningful relief that Congress can pass today.

“This Bill is not everything we need, but it is a necessary step, and one that Congress can, and must, take to provide immediate relief to farmers across the country,” said IFPA Director of US Government Relations, John Hollay. “Congress has failed for more than four decades to address the agriculture labor crisis. While we will continue to push for the system wide reform that is needed, this bill can provide immediate relief and ensure that we do not lose any more farms across America.”

In recent years, the H-2A labor program has increasingly filled labor needs for our producers in the specialty crop industry when Americans are unwilling to fill available jobs. All H-2A workers are paid in accordance with the Adverse Effect Wage Rate (AEWR), and over the last decade along the average rate has grown at twice the rate of inflation.

Wages are typically the highest input cost for fruit and vegetable growers, and the rising rates as well as the lack of available labor, fruit and vegetable production has declined nationally.

IFPA is calling on all members to tell their Member of Congress to Co-Sponsor the bill by submitting a letter of support on the Advocacy Action page. The Advocacy Action page allows members to input their address and email, and a letter will be generated and addressed to their Member of Congress.

About the International Fresh Produce Association (IFPA)
The International Fresh Produce Association (IFPA)?is the largest and most diverse international association serving the entire fresh produce and floral supply chain and the only to seamlessly integrate world-facing advocacy and industry-facing support. We exist to bring the industry together to create a vibrant future for all. We grow our member’s prosperity by conducting advocacy; connecting people and ideas; and offering guidance that allows us all to?take action?with purpose and confidence.

Contact: Ashley Sempowski, +1 (202) 303-3406