While the American Farm Bureau was pleased that President Trump put forth a proposal on fixing the nation’s immigration system, they say proposals aren’t going to solve the problem. AFB President Zippy Duvall says, “Nowhere is immigration reform more critical than in the Ag sector. Labor shortages are hitting farmers and ranchers across the country in dairy, fruits and vegetables, mushrooms, livestock, and other Ag sectors.” He says Farm Bureau will not relent in its fight to ensure that a solution to our agricultural labor needs is included in any immigration reform package.
A Farm Bureau report in 2014 showed that potential losses in the vegetable, livestock, fruit and grain production could range as high as $60 billion because of immigration challenges. “A reformed agricultural guest worker program that’s flexible and affordable for farmers, fair to workers, and effective in meeting the needs of all producers is critical,” Duvall adds. “We also need to provide current workers the opportunity to earn legal status.” He says these workers are all extremely essential to the nation’s food production.