The U.S. Apple Association today applauded the House of Representatives for passing the Farm Workforce Modernization Act with a strong bipartisan vote of 260-165. The organization noted with appreciation that most representatives from apple states voted in favor of the bill.

The legislation includes provisions to stabilize the current domestic workforce by creating an earned legalization process, as well as improvements to the current H-2A program including wage relief.

“We commend Reps. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., and Dan Newhouse, R-Wash., for their commitment to this meaningful ag labor reform,” said USApple President and CEO Jim Bair. “The legislation will stabilize the current agricultural workforce by creating a process for them to gain work authorization to continue working in agriculture. It also brings needed modernization and cost containment to the H-2A agricultural guestworker program.”

Each year growers across the country 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. Because of the labor intensity required in the apple industry, USApple has long been a leading proponent of stabilizing and legalizing a reliable workforce.

As the legislation moves to the Senate, USApple will work with its Senate champions to seek further improvements to the H-2A program.