Agriculture Workforce Coalition Statement on Introduction of HR 1773

Washington, D.C. (April 26, 2013)—“By introducing his bill on agriculture immigration reform today, House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte has recognized that America’s farmers, ranchers and growers need Congressional action to ensure a legal and stable workforce.

“The legislation represents an important first step in the House of Representatives, and the AWC looks forward to working with Chairman Goodlatte and other members to ensure that this legislation addresses the labor needs of agriculture both now and in the future.

“The AWC remains committed to the landmark agreement on agricultural immigration reform that was reached with the United Farm Workers. The principles of the AWC/UFW agreement will continue to guide our efforts as work on the immigration issue begins in Congress.

“Action is needed because there is a shortage of U.S. workers willing and able to work on the farm. Farmers, ranchers and growers need Congress to fix migrant labor laws that are badly broken. The current labor situation is untenable for ours farms and ranches.  Most importantly, without reform, our ability to provide for the American consumer will wane. Securing a reliable and competent workforce for our nation’s farms and ranches is essential to agriculture and to the U.S. economy.”

About the Agriculture Workforce Coalition

The Agriculture Workforce Coalition (AWC) brings together organizations representing the diverse needs of agricultural employers across the country. AWC serves as the unified voice of agriculture in the effort to ensure that America’s farmers, ranchers and growers have access to a stable and secure workforce.

To help achieve this goal, the AWC has reached a landmark agreement with the United Farm Workers union that presents a viable solution to agriculture’s labor needs. The proposal includes both an earned adjustment in status for current agricultural employees who presently lack legal status and a program to ensure an adequate farm workforce in the future. Also, unlike current programs such as H-2A, this agreement would mean that all types of producers—including both those with seasonal labor needs and ones with year-round labor needs—have access to the workforce they need to remain productive and competitive.

To learn more about AWC, visit our website at www.agworkforcecoalition.org.

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Why Action is Needed
 
There is a shortage of U.S. workers willing and able to perform farm work. Farmers, ranchers and growers need a new way to ensure that they can find reliable, skilled, hardworking employees.