AFBF Joins Coalition Effort to Address Labor Needs
By: American Farm Bureau
1/14/2013 8:48:10 AM
The American Farm Bureau Federation, as a member of the Agriculture Workforce Coalition, will be asking Congress to draft legislation that ensures America's farms, ranches and other agricultural operations have access to a stable and skilled workforce, according to AFBF President Bob Stallman.
The coalition has drafted a framework proposal that includes both an earned adjustment in status for current experienced farm workers and a program to ensure that farmers, ranchers and growers continue to have access to a workforce as current agricultural employees move on to other jobs, according to AFBF Labor Specialist Kristi Boswell.
"The framework recognizes the unworkable nature of existing agricultural labor programs and previous proposals, such as AgJOBS," Boswell said. "A key to the coalition's proposed framework will be ensuring that the needs of all of agriculture-both those employers with seasonal labor needs and those who provide year-round employment opportunities-are met."
According to Stallman, the coalition framework proposal will help American agriculture achieve a market-based, flexible agricultural worker program that makes sense for everyone.
"It's important for workers, farmers and especially consumers that we have a legal, stable workforce in place," Stallman said. "It's time to move the discussion forward and find a solution. It's time to meet agriculture's labor crisis head on."
According to Stallman, American agriculture as we know it would not be possible without the contributions of more than 1.5 million hired workers each year. Beyond the farm gate, each of these workers supports two to three full-time jobs in the food processing, transportation, farm equipment, marketing, retail and other sectors.
Additional information on the AWC and the coalition's framework proposal can be found on its website: www.agworkforcecoalition.org.
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