House Agriculture Committee Chairman Glenn "GT" Thompson, R-Pa., and Rep. David Scott, D-Ga., the ranking member on the committee, on Wednesday announced the formation of the bipartisan Agricultural Labor Working Group, focusing on the workforce issues faced by the nation's agricultural producers that will, in reality, focus on the immigration of farm workers.
"The Committee on Agriculture has heard loud and clear from producers across the nation that one of the biggest challenges confronting the agriculture industry is a lack of reliable labor," Thompson and Scott said in a joint statement.
"Though not directly in our committee's jurisdiction we have a responsibility to be a voice in Congress on the issues and policies impacting farmers and ranchers," the statement said.
"This is a complex problem that deserves the focused attention of the Members who hear from producers every day rather than the partisan grandstanding that has plagued these efforts in the past."
Reps. Rick Crawford, R-Ark. and Don Davis, D-N.C., will co-chair the working group.
The working group will:
- Seek input from stakeholders, employers, and workers, particularly emphasizing the H-2A visa program for nonimmigrant agricultural workers.
- Produce an interim report detailing the program's shortcomings and the impacts on food security.
- File a final report with recommendations to address the flaws within the program.
The statement said the final report of the working group will provide "a comprehensive suite of potential solutions that can inform and be utilized in subsequent legislative efforts."
Jerry Hagstrom can be reached at email@example.com
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