Dear Majority Leader Schumer and Minority Leader McConnell:
The Agriculture Workforce Coalition urges the Senate to pass an agriculture workforce reform bill this Congress that provides the solution American agriculture needs to defend our national security through protecting our domestic agricultural production, and curtailing rising food costs for every consumer.
Food security is national security. American farmers and consumers need the U.S. Senate to pass farmworker visa reform this year. From the COVID-19 pandemic to the war in Ukraine, the range of challenges we currently face reiterates that our national security is tied to our ability to feed ourselves, and that ability is currently under threat due to the agricultural workforce crisis across America’s farms and agribusinesses. The domestic workforce shortage remains one of the greatest challenges impacting our farmers today. We must address this workforce crisis threatening farms across the United States so our producers can continue to feed, clothe, and fuel our nation.
Agricultural workforce reform not only helps farmers, ranchers and farm workers, but a stable agricultural workforce is good for the U.S. economy, which impacts every consumer, according to a 2022 study by Texas A&M International University. Consumers are seeing high costs of milk, produce, fruits, meat, and eggs in the supermarket. In fact, the latest Consumer Price Index report by the Bureau of Labor and Statistics revealed that butter and margarine increased 26.3 percent, fruits and vegetables rose 8.1 percent, and cereals and bakery products rose 13.8 percent. This reinforces the urgency for agricultural workforce reform.
We also know that inaction will force many farmers to consider whether they can continue in labor-intensive agriculture. Unfortunately, we have already seen a decline in the number of farms over the last decade (2010-2021). According to the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the number of farms in the U.S. has decreased by more than 185,000 farms and the total land in farms has decreased by around 25 million acres. When farms go out of business rural America suffers. We know statistically that every seasonal worker supports three to four full-time year-round jobs. The economic impact reaches further to truck and equipment dealerships, restaurants, and the other businesses on main street. In order to protect America’s domestic agricultural production, the Senate must act now to provide stability for our existing workers and make key reforms to the H-2A program, the visa program farmers use to hire legal workers to supplement their U.S. workforce.
Reforms that provide farmers certainty and mitigate against spiraling production costs will support three goals in America’s interest: affordable food, domestic production, and national security. As representatives of agricultural organizations throughout the United States, we stand ready to help you develop and pass legislation to fully address the needs of American agriculture and every American consumer. We thank Senator Bennet and Senator Crapo for their bipartisan leadership on this critical issue and encourage you to work with them to advance a Senate bill.
Thank you for your urgent attention to solving America’s agricultural workforce crisis.
AWC Steering Committee
American Farm Bureau Federation
Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association
International Fresh Produce Association
National Council of Agricultural Employers
National Council of Farmer Cooperatives
National Farmers Union
National Milk Producers Federation
National Pork Producers Council
National Potato Council
U.S. Apple Association
AgCountry Farm Credit Services
Agricultural Council of California
Agricultural Retailers Association
Agri-Placement Services, Inc.
Alabama Farmers Federation
Alabama Pork Producers
Allen Lund Company LLC
Alliance Hospital Group
Alsum Farms & Produce, Inc
Amalgamated Sugar Company
American Cotton Producers
American Crystal Sugar Company
American Honey Producers Association
American Mushroom Institute
American Soybean Association
American Sugar Alliance
American Sugarbeet Growers Association
Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce
Andy Shaw Cattle
Applewood Fresh Growers
Arizona Dairy Producers Trade Association
Arizona Farm Bureau
Arizona Nursery Association
Arizona Pork Council
Associated Milk Producers Inc.
B Catalani Inc
Baker Ranches, Inc.
Baldor Specialty Foods, Inc.
Baxter Wholesale Nursery, Inc
Bay Cities Produce, Inc.
Bergh Farms LLC
Big Sky Ranch LLP
Biosafe Systems LLC
Black Gold Farms
Bobalu Berry Farms, LLC
Braga Fresh Family Farms
Brodasi Organic Farms, Inc
Brown and Brown of MT, Inc.
Bushel Boy Farms
C.O.C. Placement Service
California Apple Commission
California Avocado Commission
California Blueberry Association
California Blueberry Commission
California Canning Peach Association
California Citrus Mutual
California Dairies, Inc.
California Date Commission
California Farm Bureau
California Farm Labor Contractor Association
California Fig Advisory Board
California Fresh Fruit Association
California Olive Oil Council
California Prune Board
California Strawberry Commission
California Tomato Growers Association
California Wild Rice Advisory Board
Capital City Fruit, Co.
Center for Dairy Excellence (Pennsylvania)
Central Valley Ag Cooperative
Central West Produce
Ceres Solutions Cooperative
Cherry Marketing Institute
Christopher Ranch LLC
Co-Alliance Cooperative, Inc.
Coconut King Inc.
Colorado Dairy Farmers
Colorado Farm Bureau
Colorado Fruit & Vegetable Growers Association
Colorado Nursery & Greenhouse Association
Colorado Pork Producers Council
Colorado Potato Legislative Association
Cooperative Milk Producers Association
Cornerstone Ag Enterprises, LLC
Cornie Land & Livestock
Cotton Growers Warehouse Association
Crispy Green Inc.
Crist Bros. Orchards, Inc.
Crunch Pak Sliced Apples
D.R. Walcher Farms
Dairy Business Association
Dairy Farmers of America, Inc.
Dairy Producers of New Mexico
Dairy Producers of Utah
Danaco Solutions LLC
Davis Wright Tremaine LLP
Delaware Farm Bureau
DiMare Ruskin Inc.
Domex Superfresh Growers
Dorn Farms Incorporated
Dosner Organic Farms
Duda Farm Fresh Foods, Inc.
Duncan Family Farms
Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative
Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery
Farm Credit Council
Farm Credit East
Farm Credit Services of America
Farm Credit West
FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative
Field Fresh Foods
First District Association
Fish Creek Orchards
Florida Citrus Mutual
Florida Farm Bureau Federation
Florida Nursery, Growers & Landscape Association
Florida Strawberry Growers Association
Florida Tomato Exchange
Food Producers of Idaho
Foremost Farms USA
Four Seasons Produce
Frederick County Fruit Growers Association, Winchester, VA
Fresh Avenue Partners
Fresh Innovations LLC
Frontier Farm Credit
Fruit Growers Marketing Association
Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association
Georgia Green Industry Association
Georgia Milk Producers, Inc.
Georgia Urban Ag Council
Girardin’s Gardens, LLC
Glaize Apples, Winchester, VA
Grant Neibaur & Sons Farms
Green Thumb Farms
Grower-Shipper Association of Central California
H Plus Livestock
Harbinger Group LLC
Hart Apple Farms LLC
Horizon Farm Credit
Idaho Alfalfa and Clover Seed Growers Association
Idaho Apple Commission
Idaho Cherry Commission
Idaho Dairymen’s Association
Idaho Farm Bureau
Idaho Grower Shippers Association
Idaho Hay and Forage Association
Idaho Hop Growers Association
Idaho Horticulture Society
Idaho Nursery and Landscape Association
Idaho Oilseed Commission
Idaho Onion Growers Association
Idaho Pork Producers Association
Idaho-Oregon Fruit and Vegetable Association
Illinois Farm Bureau
Illinois Green Industry Association
Illinois Milk Producers Association
Illinois Pork Producers Association
Illinois Specialty Growers Association
Indiana Berry & Plant Co.
Indiana Dairy Producers
International Dairy Foods Association
Iowa Institute for Cooperatives
Iowa Pork Producers Association
Iowa State Dairy Association
John B. Martin & Sons Farms, Inc.
John Vena Inc.
Joseph Bezon & Son
Kansas Cooperative Council
Kansas Dairy Association
Kansas Livestock Association
Kanza Cooperative Association
Kentucky Farm Bureau
Kentucky Pork Producers Association
Kirk Jacobs Farms/Jacobs Silver K Farms, Inc.
Kling Strategic Partners LLC
Labor Services International
Lake Ag LLC
Land O’Lakes, Inc.
Laurel Springs Nursery, L.L.C.
Legacy Labor, Inc.
Leitz Farms LLC
Liberty Fruit Company, Inc.
Lipman Family Farms
Little Bear Produce
Loffredo Fresh Foods
Lone Star Milk Producers
Louisiana Association of Cooperatives
Louisiana Pork Producers Association
M & R Farms, Inc.
Mack Farms, Inc; McMelon Inc.
Magic Irrigators, Inc.
Magic Water Company, Inc.
Maine Landscape & Nursery Association
Maine Potato Board
Malheur County Onion Growers Association
Market Demand Corp
Maryland & Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative Association
Maryland Farm Bureau
Maryland Nursery, Landscape, and Greenhouse Association
Mason Cattle Company
Massachusetts Nursery and Landscape Association
Mastronardi Produce USA
Maurice H. Eckert & Son’s, Inc.
Measure to Improve, LLC
Mercer Ranches Inc.
MFA Oil Company
Michigan Apple Association
Michigan Blueberry Advisory Committee
Michigan Blueberry Growers (MBG)
Michigan Farm Bureau
Michigan Milk Producers Association
Michigan Nursery & Landscape Association
Michigan Pork Producers Association
Michigan Processing Apple Growers
Michigan Processing Asparagus Growers
Michigan State Horticultural Society
Michigan Sugar Company
Mid Columbia Ag Services, LLC
Midwest Council on Agriculture
Milk Producers Council
Minn-Dak Farmers Cooperative
Minnesota Agri-Growth Council
Minnesota Milk Producers Association
Minnesota Nursery & Landscape Association
Minnesota Pork Producers Association
Missouri Pork Association
Montana Farm Bureau Federation
Montana Nursery and Landscape Association
Montana Pork Producers Council
Monterey County Farm Bureau
Mount Adams Fruit
Mount Joy Farmers Cooperative Association
National Association of State Departments of Agriculture
National Association of Wheat Growers
National Christmas Tree Association
National Corn Growers Association
National Cotton Council
National Cotton Ginners Association
National Onion Association
National Peach Council
National Watermelon Association
Nature Fresh Farms USA Inc
Nebraska Cooperative Council
Nebraska Pork Producers Association, Inc.
Nebraska Soybean Association
Nebraska State Dairy Association
Nevada Farm Bureau Federation
New Mexico Farm & Livestock Bureau
New York Apple Association
New York Apple Sales, Inc.
New York Farm Bureau
New York Pork Producers CO-OP
New York State Flower Industries
New York State Horticultural Society
Nezperce Prairie Grass Growers Assn.
North American Blueberry Council
North Bay Produce, Inc.
North Carolina Farm Bureau
North Carolina Pork Council
Northeast Dairy Producers Association
Northern Orchard Co., Inc.
Northwest Dairy Association
Northwest Farm Credit Services
Northwest Horticultural Council
NW Ag Cooperative Council
Ohio Apple Marketing Program
Ohio Dairy Producers Association
Ohio Green Industry Association
Ohio Pork Council
Ohio Produce Growers and Marketers Association
Oklahoma Agricultural Cooperative Council
Oklahoma Pork Council
Ole Tyme Produce
Olive Growers Council of California
One Equals One Farms
Oneida-Madison Milk Producers Cooperative Association
Oregon Association of Nurseries
Oregon Dairy Farmers Association
Pacific Coast Fruit Company
Pacific Coast Producers
Pacific Trellis Fruit LLC
Pandol Bros., Inc.
Pennsylvania Farm Bureau
Pennsylvania Pork Producers Council
Pennsylvania Vegetable Growers Association
Picabo Livestock Co.
Plains Cotton Cooperative Association
Plains Cotton Growers, Inc.
Potato Growers of Michigan, Inc.
Prairie Farms Dairy, Inc.
Pro Citrus Network, Inc.
Produce Alliance, LLC
Produce Pro Software
Producers Cooperative Association
Prosperous Boyles Tree Fruit Wine Orchard & Company
Randy Gillette Farms Inc.
Ratto Bros. Inc.
Rio Farms, LLC
S Bar B Ranch
S. Katzman Produce
Safe Food En Route, LLC
Scioto Cooperative Milk Producers’ Association
Shaw Land and Livestock
Shawver Farms Inc.
Snake River Farmers’ Association
South Carolina Farm Bureau Federation
South Dakota Association of Cooperatives
South Dakota Dairy Producers
South Dakota Pork Producers Council
South East Dairy Farmers Association
South Mill Champs
Southeast Milk, Inc.
Southern Idaho Potato Cooperative, Inc.
Southern Minnesota Beet Sugar Cooperative
Southern Specialties, Inc.
Specialty Crop Farm Labor Contractors, LLC
Spring Valley Associates, LLC
Sterman Masser Inc.
Sunmaid Growers of California
Sunrise Fresh LLC
Sunsweet Growers Inc.
Tennessee Pork Producers Association
Texas Agricultural Cooperative Council
Texas Association of Dairymen
Texas Citrus Mutual
Texas Farm Bureau
Texas International Produce Association
Texas Vegetable Association
The Michigan Vegetable Council, INC.
The Oppenheimer Group
The Produce Moms
The Sanson Company
Thomas Honey Farms Inc.
Thompson Seed Potato
Tillamook County Creamery Association
UC Davis Dept of Agricultural and Resource Economics
United Dairy Farmers of Florida, Inc.
United Dairymen of Arizona
United Potato Growers of America
United Vegetable Growers Cooperative
Upstate Niagara Cooperative, Inc.
US Beet Sugar Association
U.S. Custom Harvesters, Inc.
US Sweet Potato Council
US Tobacco Cooperative
Utah Apple Marketing Board
Utah Horticulture Society
Utah Tart Cherry Marketing Board
Valley Fig Growers
Verdell Olson Ranch
Virginia Horticultural Society
Virginia State Dairymen’s Association
Walter P. Rawl & Sons
Washington Growers League
Washington State Dairy Federation
Washington State Nursery & Landscape Association
Washington State Potato Commission
Washington State Tree Fruit Association
Washington Winegrowers Association & Winegrape Growers of America
West Virginia Nursery & Landscape Association
Western Sugar Cooperative
Westfalia Fruit US
Wild Blueberry Commission of Maine
Will Rowe Farm
Wisconsin Landscape Contractors Association
Wisconsin Pork Association
Wisconsin Potato & Vegetable Growers Association
World Wide Farms LLC
Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation
Wyoming Sugar Company
cc: U.S. Senate