There was a great deal of anticipation prior to President Obama’s State of the Union address earlier this week; anticipation a couple of key issues regarding agriculture would be addressed. Really, we should have been watching the dog show. President of North Carolina Farm Bureau Federation Larry Wooten:
“I think the dog show had more specificity in what was going to be accomplished in view of what was said by the President at the State of the Union address in relation to an issue that is really big for NC agriculture and US agriculture, the issue of immigration. Also the rebuttal from Senator Rubio from the Republican side, I thought they were both fairly vanilla when we had been lead to believe there would be specific recommendations from the Presidents side what the administration’s program was going to look like in terms of comprehensive immigration reform. I was disappointed to say the least.”
While the topic of immigration reform made headlines a couple of weeks ago, that appears to be all it was; headlines. Wooten says along with the farm bill, immigration reform just isn’t boiling hot on Capital Hill:
“In Congress right now the big items are the debt ceiling and all the fiscal issues. The President says ‘We may have some more tax increase’, while the Republicans claim they have been covered in the previous discussions, now lets talk about cuts in spending. All of those arguments have sucked the air out of the room in terms of moving forward debates on gun control, etc. The farm bill and immigration are still in there but they are not hot compared to some other things.”
But, when it comes to immigration reform, Wooten explains that the issue can’t be left to linger too long:
“As the economy improves, I can assure you there will be pressure for more workers to come here, whether it be in agriculture or other sectors. The border has been tightened, there have been less illegal immigrants coming across, but the pressure will be there if the economy improves and we don’t have some guestworker program.”
President of North Carolina Farm Bureau Larry Wooten.