Statement by Bob Stallman, President, American Farm Bureau Federation, Regarding Bipartisan Senate Immigration Principles
“The time is long overdue for our nation to have a comprehensive agricultural labor plan that works for all sectors of agriculture and across all regions of our nation. The American Farm Bureau Federation is encouraged by the immigration reform principles put forth by a bipartisan group of eight Senators. We are especially pleased the senators recognized that agricultural labor provisions must be part of any substantive effort to reform immigration policy. We are hopeful that this will provide the needed framework to move forward during the 113th Congress with a legislative solution for America’s agricultural labor shortage.
“We will continue to work through the Agriculture Workforce Coalition in our efforts to ensure that America’s farmers, growers and livestock producers have long-term access to a steady supply of skilled agricultural workers. We think the best way to do this is through a modern agriculture worker visa program. We will continue to work with members of Congress and the Obama administration to ensure any resulting program is fair, flexible and works to help us feed our growing nation. We also support efforts that would allow experienced laborers the opportunity to earn an enhanced status for the roles they have played in helping us keep our farms running and American agriculture strong. Both elements are critical to an agricultural immigration reform package.
“Immigrant laborers play a vital role in tending our crops and livestock, and we are encouraged by the bipartisan reform efforts. American agriculture needs a legal and stable workforce and farmers from across our nation are ready to support a solution that reaches that conclusion.”