Feb. 15, 2019 – NPC has resumed its work with other major agricultural associations in pushing Congress and the Administration for agricultural labor reform. There have been signals from Congressional negotiators that they may attempt to address some of the immigration crisis as part of three-week talks aimed at averting another government shutdown.
“We are long-time leaders in the Agricultural Workforce Coalition (AWC) that unites all of agriculture behind a common package of immigration and labor reforms. Recognizing the shutdown negotiations, AWC wants to be ready to insert our priorities into any viable legislative package that may provide relief for our members,” said Kam Quarles, V.P. of Public Policy for NPC.
The basic principles of an agriculture labor reform solution involve legal status for the current improperly-document workforce along with creation of a reliable market-based guest worker program.
The current H-2A program is cumbersome and burdened by inefficiencies including a government-created annual wage rate (the Adverse Effect Wage Rate or AEWR) that skyrocketed for some states this year. NPC has strongly pressed the Administration to hold back this government-mandated wage increase, so as not to harm agricultural productivity.