Ag workforce bill passes committee
Friday, November 22, 2019
The Farm Workforce Modernization Act passed through committee on Thursday and is set for consideration by the full House of Representatives.
The proposal would address the farm labor crisis faced by many of our dairy farmers by providing a process to retain our existing employees and a pathway to recruit new workers for our dairies.
The House Judiciary Committee debated and considered amendments for four hours on Wednesday. Ultimately, the bill passed with only one amendment added. Even though the proposal is bipartisan, the vote was along party lines with 18 Democrats in favor and 12 Republicans against. Of the 49 total cosponsors, 23 are Republicans and 26 are Democrats.
The debate in committee highlighted some of the items in the bill that are not ideal, however, it also demonstrated that the bill is a compromise effort to move much needed ag workforce reform forward. A letter sent to House leadership earlier this week from more than 300 agricultural organizations and food companies, including Edge, signified the broad support behind this legislation.
The bill is a long way from the finish line. If it passes the House, it would have to be introduced and considered by the Senate before the president could sign the bill into law.
After the bill’s introduction in October, Edge issued this press release . Edge staff then previewed the legislation to members via a webinar. Members can watch the webinar here.
Here are details of the Farm Workforce Modernization Act:
• Highlights of the bill
• Full breakdown
• Myths and facts
Your input is critically important to help this bill move forward through the House. You can help by contacting your elected representative and telling them to support the Farm Workforce Modernization Act. They need to hear about your farm’s labor challenges and the practical impact this proposal would have on your farm. You can find your representative here.
The bill represents the best opportunity to accomplish a labor solution for dairy farmers for the foreseeable future. Edge will continue to remain actively engaged with the legislative process and other stakeholders to address concerns while advocating for the bill’s progress.
Associate director of government affairs