March 19th – Now that a significant agricultural immigration bill has won passage from the U.S. House of Representatives, the California Farm Bureau has called on the Senate to begin the process of moving the bill to President Biden’s desk.
The Farm Workforce Modernization Act of 2021 by Reps. Zoe Lofgren, D-San Jose, and Dan Newhouse, R-Wash., passed the House today with bipartisan support. It would update agricultural visa programs and accommodate immigrant agricultural employees already in the country.
“We’re pleased to see the Farm Workforce Modernization Act advance,” California Farm Bureau President Jamie Johansson said. “We thank Reps. Lofgren and Newhouse for championing the bill, and the many California representatives who advocated and voted for it.”
Johansson said Farm Bureau will work with California Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Alex Padilla to seek refinements to the bill’s guestworker provisions before a Senate vote.
“We know Sens. Feinstein and Padilla appreciate the importance of easing chronic employee shortages on California farms, and of providing more stability and dignity to the men and women who work in agriculture,” he said. “Farmers and farm employees are eager to see the Senate move quickly in addressing immigration reform for agriculture.”
Senate action would further recognize the essential work farm employees have performed during the COVID-19 pandemic, Johansson said.
“The men and women who work on farms and ranches have shown dedication to their jobs and to their communities during an extremely trying time,” he said. “Everyone in the country has benefited from that dedication. Farmers and farm employees need a legislative solution that will help assure farms and ranches retain the flexibility to respond to changing demands for safe, healthy food and farm products.”
The California Farm Bureau works to protect family farms and ranches on behalf of nearly 32,000 members statewide and as part of a nationwide network of nearly 5.6 million Farm Bureau members.