Statement by Jim Bair,

President & CEO

U.S. Apple Association

Re: Introduction of Farm Workforce Modernization Act

Oct. 30, 2019

“The U.S. Apple Association applauds Reps. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), Dan Newhouse (R-Wash.) and others for the introduction of the bipartisan Farm Workforce Modernization Act, meaningful agriculture labor reforms that will greatly benefit the U.S. apple industry, which relies heavily on foreign born labor.

“The Farm Workforce Modernization Act will stabilize the current agricultural workforce by creating a process for them to gain work authorization to continue working in agriculture. The bill also brings needed modernization and cost containment to the H-2A agricultural guestworker program.

“The legislation represents a significant improvement over the status quo for our growers in the H-2A program and those who employ domestic workers. The legislation is a compromise and the first step in a lengthy process. We will continue to provide input and seek improvements as that process moves forward.

“Each year growers coast to coast face uncertainty as to whether there will be sufficient labor to harvest the crop. The current system causes an unstable situation for not only apple growers, but for all farmers who depend on immigrant labor to bring Americans healthy and affordable food. A stable, legal and reliable workforce is critical if we are to continue to have a vibrant domestic apple supply. For these reasons, we urge Congress to pass this legislation.”

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Tags: policy, labor