January 23, 2020

Farm Workforce Modernization Act Passes in House

Farm Workforce Modernization Act Passes in House

The Farm Workforce Modernization Act introduced by Representative Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) has passed 260-165 in the House. H.R.5038 is a bipartisan solution for America’s agriculture industry and farmworkers that provides constancy, predictability, and equality to one of the most important segments of the nation’s economy.

The bill “would give us the opportunity to have more employees, have a better supply of employees,” said Rick Naerebout, CEO of Idaho Dairymen’s Association. “It’s really going to help our rural communities, those individuals are going to be more involved, and they’ll be able to more freely spend money in our local businesses, so it’s going to be a good thing if we are able to move this forward.” The Farm Workforce Modernization Act forms a program for agricultural workers in the U.S, their spouses, and minor children to earn legal status through prolonged agricultural employment and involvement to the U.S. agricultural economy, improves the H-2A program to provide more flexibility for employers, while ensuring vital protections for workers, and establishes a mandatory, nationwide E-Verify system for all agricultural employment, serving as the last essential portion to guarantee a legal workforce.

The bill has now moved to the Senate. “The Farm Workforce Modernization Act is a critical, bipartisan step forward for both our farmers and farmworkers,” states Representative Jimmy Panetta (D-CA). “I am thankful that the House advanced this effort to protect our existing farmworkers and promote an enduring workforce for agriculture. I look forward to working with our colleagues in the Senate to get this bill passed into law.”