Lawmaker wants farm labor reform tied to immigration

Senator Thom Tillis of North Carolina says farm labor and immigration reform must happen together.

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Ag labor has been a recurring theme among producers at recent farm bill listening sessions, and Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) says any labor reform must be tied to immigration.

“You’re not going to get one without the other, and you’re not going to get any movement on immigration or labor reform without border security,” Tillis said. “Senator Bozeman mentioned this, where—if all we do is come up with a good policy on labor then that sends a signal that more people should come over illegally. That’s why the two have to be managed in tandem, and that’s something I’m working on and hope to get done in this Congress.”

Ag labor reform isn’t the only topic Tillis focused on in this year’s legislation. He also says risk management is top of mind.

“The safety net programs are the things that everybody talked about—risk management—we’re dealing with risk management assumptions that were set back in 2012, and now we’re in 2023,” Tillis explains. “So, I think updating them—and actually allowing some commodities that don’t even have access to the programs we already have in place—to expand it. I think it’s probably the two most important things we need to do in the Farm Bill. And then, we need to make sure things don’t get into the Farm Bill that has nothing to do with farming—and that’s going to be a big challenge, too.”

Groups like NCBA have also been vocal about wanting more attention to risk management programs saying the bill should not only expand access but also increase funding.

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