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Reed applauds passage of bill to help NY farmers with access to workers

Rep. Tom Reed applauded the passage of the Bipartisan and Problem Solvers Caucus endorsed Farm Workforce Modernization Act of 2019 to help struggling farmers in New York gain access to much needed farm workers.

“I hear it every time I step on family farms in Upstate New York — ‘when is Washington going to do something about access for farm labor?'” Reed said. “This common sense bipartisan compromise is a step in the right direction for this decades old problem, and will deliver relief to the farmers we care about across the nation to give them fair access to workers they need to prosper. I am proud the Problem Solvers Caucus could get behind this bill as we pushed it over the finish line in the House and onto the Senate.

“However, this is just the start of immigration reform. We must secure our southern border and continue to fight to ensure a merit-based system is fully implemented — such as the one proposed by President Trump this spring,” concluded Reed.

The bill takes a two-pronged approach to meet year-round labor needs: creating a new, capped program for employers seeking to bring in temporary workers for year-round needs; and builds off current law dedicating an additional 40,000 employment-based green cards per year for agricultural workers. It also includes mandatory e-verify, new investments in farmworker housing, H-2A wage reform, and streamlined recruiting.

“Access to a reliable workforce is a critical issue for Upstate New York dairy farmers like me,” said family farmer David White from Clymer. “I milk my cows 365 days a year. Current agricultural visa programs are seasonal and therefore don’t provide a solution to dairy’s unique challenges. I commend Congressman Tom Reed for his work to support and pass the bipartisan Farm Workforce Modernization Act to address this critical issue for our Upstate economy.”

“New York Farm Bureau appreciates Rep. Reed’s leadership in cosponsoring the bipartisan Farm Workforce Modernization Act. Farms in his district and across the state need access to reliable labor in order to produce the food we need and to support our rural economy. This legislation would especially support dairy farmers who have long been without access to the agricultural visa program,” said David Fisher, New York Farm Bureau President.

“We applaud House passage today of the bipartisan Farm Workforce Modernization Act, which takes significant strides to make badly needed improvements to agriculture immigration policy that address dairy’s unique workforce challenges,” said Jim Mulhern, President and CEO of the National Milk Producers Federation. “Congressman Reed has been a vocal champion on this issue for Upstate New York dairy farmers and we thank him for cosponsoring this bipartisan bill and working to build momentum for this win in the House.”

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