Moments after the House action on the Farm Workforce Modernization Act, Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Mike Crapo (R-ID) released a joint statement announcing they will introduce companion legislation in the U.S. Senate.
“We applaud our colleagues in the U.S. House of Representatives — on both sides of the aisle — for their work on this crucial legislation to make much-needed reforms to our immigration system for our producers and farmworkers. House passage of the Farm Workforce Modernization Act is an important step toward bringing certainty to our country’s agriculture industry and the hard-working producers and farmworkers who have sustained the nation during the COVID-19 pandemic. We will work together to introduce companion legislation in the U.S. Senate that appropriately addresses the needs of both the industry and the farmworkers that uphold it,” they said in the statement.
NPC CEO Kam Quarles commented, “This is outstanding news that these two key senators are moving rapidly on this vital issue. We will work closely with Senators Bennet and Crapo in their efforts to improve the measure and enact long-term labor solutions that support the health of family farmers and all those working in the potato industry.”
In the Senate, NPC plans to advocate for improvements to the bill including addressing the unpredictable wage rate for employers taking part in the agricultural guest worker program (H-2A). Additionally, the group will work to ensure the current H-2A program remains uncapped, to allow the labor force to expand and contract based upon agriculture’s production needs.