In early 2012 American Farm Bureau Federation put together a consortium of ten states representing all areas of the country with different agricultural labor needs. North Carolina Farm Bureau’s assistant to the president, Peter Daniel represented the southeast on the panel that met several times this year in DC. The framework that the panel worked out addresses all aspects of agriculture, according to Daniel:
“Agriculture’s labor needs are so much broader than what one thinks of traditional migrant labor that comes here for a few months then goes home.”
Daniel explains that the plan agreed on by the panel does not eliminate the H2A program but works alongside it, and is a living document:
“It is a market based program, based on what the farmers need versus an autocratic top down, this is what you are going to do-type program. It treats the workers with respect. It makes it easy for the farmer to access the program. The workers fall under US labor laws.”
The program will also work with the e-verify program, already in use, according to Daniel:
“We are very excited that we have a general consensus on a style program that will work for the agricultural community and if in the wisdom of the federal government, we move this nation to require verification of employment, called e-verify, than this program that we are proposing will work for the farm community under that type of worker ID program.”
American Farm Bureau Federation will present the plan to congress during the next session.
Peter Daniel, assistant to the president for North Carolina Farm Bureau Federation.