American Farm Bureau asks USDA for help on ag labor shortages

Labor is a major issue in front of the ag industry, specifically the shortages on U.S. farms and ranches. It is why the American Farm Bureau is asking USDA and the Department of Labor for help and to have real talks with the producers being impacted.

“The first is USDA has a purview over the farm labor survey, which determines the wage rates for the H-2A program. We asked them to really reevaluate and look at the farm labor survey to make improvements in those areas. The second major thing that we asked for from the Department of Labor is a willingness and an interest to really engage with farmers and ranchers and understand the challenges that they’re faced with,” said John Walt Boatright.

Boatright is calling for thoughtful discussions between producers and policymakers but says all talks are at a standstill.

“Nothing of late pertaining specifically to agricultural labor. The frustrating part is that we continue to hear the outcry from farm country that these issues need to be addressed, and unfortunately, there seems to be little action taking place. So, we’re hopeful that this type of engagement will help jump-start some of those conversations.”

During Farm Bill listening sessions over the last year, ag labor had been a recurring concern among producers. North Carolina Senator Tom Tillis says any labor reform must be tied to immigration.