Will Farm Workforce Modernization Act Return In This Congress?
After clearing the House twice, the Farm Workforce Modernization Act stalled in the Senate during the 117th Congress, and failed to get a vote. Now that a new Congress has been seated, what does that mean for the legislation. Dan Newhouse, chair of the Western Caucus and one of the key sponsors of the bill says his office is working on a strategy to reintroduce legislation.
"What's it going to look like this Congress? How do we best move forward? The crisis is just as great as it was a month ago. So the need for having relief as it relates to agricultural labor is great and we have to take action.”
While the Farm Workforce Modernization Act has enjoyed bipartisan support, and the backing of a variety of farm groups, the American Farm Bureau Federation has come out in opposition of the legislation. AFBF President Zippy Duvall said the proposal does not go far enough for the farming community. Newhouse says he’s very confident the two sides can work together to get farmers the help they need.
“They've been at the table. I'm a Farm Bureau member myself and I think I bring some credibility to the table when I talked to Zippy Duvall, who's become a real friend of mine over the last few years as we talk about these issues. But we're not quite there yet and I'm glad that they've committed to continuing to work on this because American agriculture needs the help," Newhouse continued. "This is, not only farmers is this costing but it's costing consumers as well. And we're seeing that in the cost of food in the grocery store rise on a continuing basis and part of the reason for that is our like lack of agricultural labor.”
If you have a story idea for the PNW Ag Network, call (509) 547-9791, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org