August 3, 2022
Washington D.C. – International Fresh Produce Association (IFPA) joined 446 agricultural trade associations, agribusinesses and farmer co-ops Tuesday, Aug. 2 to call on the Senate to pass agricultural immigration reform legislation this Congress. The letter, addressed to Senate leadership in both parties and copied to all 100 Senators, included 145 signatures from IFPA member companies.
“The availability of labor remains one of the greatest challenges facing America’s farmers today,” said IFPA Chief Public Policy Officer, Robert Guenther. “The domestic workforce shortage not only leads to rising prices for our consumers, but threatens the existence of the farms that we rely on to feed our country. Without a reliable workforce, consumers will continue to experience high food costs, and also limited variety and availability. Immigration reform is urgently needed to ensure our farmers can continue to provide the nutritious, fresh products we all need.”
The letter also noted that “inaction will force many farmers to consider whether they can continue in labor-intensive agriculture,” citing a decline in the number of farms over the last decade. This decrease creates an economic impact that “reaches further into truck and equipment dealerships, restaurant and other businesses on main street. In order to protect America’s domestic agricultural production, the Senate must act now to provide stability for our existing workers and make key reforms to the H-2A program, the visa program farmers use to hire legal workers to supplement their U.S. workforce.”
In July, IFPA’s CEO, Cathy Burns, joined U.S. Representatives Dan Newhouse (R-WA), Jim Baird (R-IN), Doug LaMalfa (R-CA) and Mike Simpson (R-ID) and other agricultural leaders at a press conference to call on Congress to pass bipartisan workforce solutions.
“Without immigration reform, we know that American consumers will continue to experience higher prices and fewer options at the grocery store, threatening food security and availability,” said Burns. “Any threat to the availability of fresh produce undermines the health benefits of fruits and vegetables in combating the chronic diseases that cost our economy billions.”