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Tag Archives: immigration

Immigration and farm bill votes expected in the House

The U.S House of Representatives is expected to reconsider the “Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018” (H.R. 2), better known as the Farm Bill, on June 22 after a vote on an immigration bill proposed by House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., and House Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul, R-Texas, earlier that week.

That measure includes the “Agricultural Guestworker Act” (AG Act), which would create a new visa program — H-2C — that allows non-seasonal agricultural workers to remain in the United States for up to three years.

Many agricultural groups, including the National Pork Producers Council, support the legislation, which would help address an agricultural labor shortage.

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Mr. President, do not take farm vote for granted

I know that many people involved in agriculture, myself included, were thrilled to see President Donald Trump take time out of his very busy schedule to visit the American Farm Bureau Federation Annual Meeting in Nashville in January.

In that speech, we found out that the President is hearing about and working on so many issues that will affect farm country. From a new farm bill, to NAFTA, immigration reform, infrastructure, or countless regulations that are currently hindering progress in our industry, Mr. Trump mentioned the many woes facing agriculture as he spoke directly to thousands of farmers and ranchers from that stage in Music City.

The elephant in the room when it comes to rural America and politics at the highest levels of government is whether President Trump will truly take into account why he holds the title of Commander-In-Chief. If not for farm country, the oval office décor would have a completely different vibe.

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Immigration reform delays hurting agricultural economy

The Partnership for a New American Economy and the Agriculture Coalition for Immigration Reform today released a new report showing how American families are eating more imported fresh produce today than ever before, in substantial part because U.S. fresh produce growers lack enough labor to expand their production and compete with foreign importers.

“American consumers want fresh U.S grown fruits and vegetables, but our farmers don’t have the labor force available to meet that demand,” said John Feinblatt, Chairman of the Partnership for a New American Economy. “This means more produce is imported, and our economy loses millions of dollars and thousands of jobs every year. We need to pass immigration reform now, so our food remains homegrown and our economy strong.”

In recent years, the share of fresh fruits and vegetables consumed by American families that was imported has grown by 79.3%.

“On the issue of farm labor, we have a growing amount of evidence that all points in the same direction: Farmers and consumers both need responsible immigration reform,” said American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman, a cattle and rice farmer from Texas.

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Groups pushing for immigration reform

The Agriculture Workforce Coalition, the American Farm Bureau Federation, and more than 70 of the largest American agriculture groups joined with the Partnership for a New American Economy to launch #IFarmImmigration, an agriculture campaign to support renewed efforts to enact immigration reform this year.

The campaign will stress the agriculture sector’s critical need for immigration reform with activities online and on the ground, in Washington D.C. and in key districts. The month starts with a Capitol Hill Briefing on Wednesday, Feb. 5,where Congressional staff will hear from farmers and ranchers about the need for immigration reform. The campaign will also release new research on labor shortages and throughout the month, farmers and ranchers will be on the ground telling their stories through farm tours, social and traditional media, videos, and community events for members of Congress in their districts.

“Immigration reform is critical for the agricultural industry,” said Bob Stallman, AFBF President.

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Ohio leaders pushing for immigration reform

On October 28-29, business, faith, and conservative leaders from Ohio will travel to Washington, D.C. to meet with key members of the Ohio congressional delegation to discuss the economic imperative of passing meaningful immigration reform this year and urge lawmakers to support bipartisan legislation that will strengthen America’s economy and create jobs.

Participants in the Washington fly-in include:

·      Chris Gibbs of Maplewood —Farmer and Shelby County Republican Chairman

·      Kathy Rhoads of Circleville —Rhoads Farms

·      Bob Lyons of Madison —Sunleaf Nursery

·      Terry Boose of Norwalk —Republican State Representative

·      Bruce Buurma of Willard —Buurma Farms

“It’s going to be tough to step away from the farm for a few days, but this is definitely a worthy cause,” said Maplewood-based grower and Shelby County GOP Chair, Chris Gibbs.  “I’m excited about the opportunity to join a great group of leaders as we meet with Ohio members of Congress to push for passage of comprehensive immigration reform this year.”

These community leaders and others will be advocating for the passage of legislation that incorporates the following principles:

• Increased access to high-skill visas that will meet the demands of our growing economy.

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Vilsack says there will be no farm bill extension

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In an exclusive one on one conversation with Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Ohio Ag Net’s Ty Higgins got the nitty gritty on two major topics waiting on Congress to return from their August recess — Immigration reform and the Farm Bill.

With the August recess almost over, many in agriculture are keenly focused on getting things done in Congress after September’s arrival. That group includes Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. At the top of that list for Vilsack, is the farm bill. The current farm bill extension expires at the end of September.

There are a number of implications with continued inaction on the farm bill, Vilsack said. One of those looming challenges is an ongoing trade dispute with Brazil.

“Brazil won a case with the WTO which means that they can retaliate, if they so desire, against American goods and services to the tune of perhaps $850 million a year.

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Ag groups pushing for House immigration reform

The American Farm Bureau Federation and more than 400 leading U.S. businesses and advocacy organizations called on the House to enact immigration reform legislation. The letter, sent today, was signed by a broad cross section of industries that includes agriculture, housing, retail, tourism, hospitality, technology, engineering, manufacturing, finance, venture capital, consumer electronics and others with a combined presence in every state in the United States.

The letter and all the groups signing on can be found at: http://bit.ly/18OVlYP.

Following is the text of the letter that was sent to U.S. House Speaker John Boehner and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi:

 

“The undersigned organizations urge the United States Congress to enact legislation that would bring meaningful reforms to critical components of our nation’s immigration system. Reform of an outdated, broken immigration system is essential if we are to achieve a fully revitalized economy that provides rewarding and lasting jobs and opportunities for all Americans.

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Senate passes immigration reform bill

The Senate approved a comprehensive immigration reform measure by a vote of 68-32 that strengthens the border security apparatus to discourage the flow of illegal immigrants to the U.S.

From the standpoint of farm employers, it creates an entirely new visa category for their workers, both current employees, and prospective new employers. This new visa system will be administered through the U.S. Department of Agriculture, making it easier for farmers and ranchers to access and use. It will also assure a future flow of new workers, so that as the economy evolves and jobs shift between sectors, farmers will have the means to recruit and hire new dairy workers.

Many in agriculture feel the reform will benefit farmers with their current and future workforce needs, and provide the entire agriculture sector with much-needed economic certainty.

“We’ve known for years that the status quo employment situation in dairy farming is not sustainable. 

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Immigration reform progresses in Senate

After agreeing on a farm bill, the U.S. Senate moved right on tackling the massive issue of immigration reform. The progressed quickly on this important agricultural issue, which is a good sign for progress.

“We commend the Senate for deciding today to limit debate on its immigration reform measure, which demonstrates that they want to move forward and get a bill passed by July 4th.  America’s farmers need action on the immigration issue.  Thanks to the vote on cloture Tuesday, the chances are much better now that it will get resolved,” said Jerry Kozak, President and CEO of the National Milk Producers Federation.

Previous attempts at creating a comprehensive solution have failed, but the Senate vote sends a strong signals that a critical mass of the Senate also believes that immigration reform is key national priority. The Senate bill contains an entirely new visa program for farm workers that has has the support of agricultural organizations.

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