American Farm Bureau is expressing support for the Agricultural Guestworker Act of 2017. The bill would create an H-2C visa program that will allow American farmers and, packers and processors access to a legal and stable supply of workers. AFBF President Zippy Duvall stated the following:
“Every year, farmers and ranchers face greater challenges in finding enough workers to keep their businesses running. The labor shortage on America’s farms and ranches is growing, and the lack of a stable, legal supply of workers places the health of too many farms at risk. We cannot afford to see any more of our nation’s food supply lost in the fields.
“The Ag Act’s proposed guest worker visa program would bring much needed improvements to the current system while addressing the needs of our current workforce and providing a streamlined visa process for skilled, agricultural workers in the future. Although Farm Bureau members have concerns on certain points, such as capping the number of visas, we stand ready to work with Chairman Goodlatte and members of Congress to refine these provisions for the good of all U.S. agriculture.
“Farm Bureau applauds Rep. Goodlatte for his leadership on this legislation and looks forward to working with members on both sides of the aisle to solve agriculture’s labor problems, now and in the future.”
The new program would allow undocumented workers, who can demonstrate agriculture work experience over the previous two-year period, to get an H2-C visa. An initial cap of 500,000 workers would be allowed under the program, with allowances to adjust the number depending on U.S. agriculture labor demand each year.