Ag leader hopes new Congress, President can pass ag worker reforms
An agricultural leader says he hopes the new Congress and President can provide a legal solution for foreign farm labor. Craig Regelbrugge with AmericanHort says last year’s Farm Workforce Modernization Act was the first labor bill to pass the U.S. House in twenty years, but it died with no action in the Senate, and that means reforms are still needed. “We need reforms that allow our experienced-but-unauthorized current workforce, which is half of the current workforce incidentally, to be able to attain some sort of legal status with authorization to work.”
Regelbrugge says they can be flexible on the details of a labor bill, but farmers need a way to stabilize the current workforce and provide for future workers. “We have worker shortages today, and so we need better visa program options.”
Regelbrugge says the pandemic bared down on Congress, stopping the advancement of the bill but he is cautiously optimistic a farm labor reform bill can pass in the new Congress. “The narrower margins that (Speaker) Nancy Pelosi has, the narrower majority, I think creates a little bit of a sense of realism that the wild-eyed progressives, while they might be able to hold some things, hostage, they certainly can’t get things done. I think it’s a bit of a reinforcer of moderation and an underscoring of the need for some bipartisan cooperation.”
Regelbrugge made his comments during the Potato Expo Thursday.