The Agriculture Workforce Coalition Thursday urged the U.S. Senate to take up legislation to solve the agricultural labor crisis.
A letter penned by the coalition to the Senate urges lawmakers to address the Adverse Effect Wage Rate, which increased nationally by six percent for 2020. The rate is the required wage for farmers who use the H-2A program. In its letter, the coalition asks the Senate to consider the impacts of the rate on U.S. farmers.
The group seeks an alternative that will ensure a level playing field for farmers and ranchers making them more competitive with foreign producers. Additionally, the coalition says farmers who use the H-2A program to procure legal workers from other countries must comply with “a complicated and expensive application” process.
Over the last five years, the Adverse Effect Wage Rate has increased nationwide by 17 percent on average while revenues for fruits and nuts have increased only three percent and vegetables and melons have seen no revenue increases.