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NMPF Builds Momentum for Ag Labor Reform

July 6, 2021

As a leader in ag labor reform, NMPF has been working with members of Congress and others on a bipartisan effort to enact legislation this year addressing dairy’s workforce challenges.

After helping secure House passage of the bipartisan Farm Workforce Modernization Act in March, NMPF has shifted focus to improving the bill in the Senate, with the goal of ultimately advancing legislation to the President’s desk. NMPF also has been working to build support for ag labor reform more broadly throughout the Senate, looking to increase congressional urgency. NMPF took part in two key momentum-building efforts this past month.

NMPF first worked with colleagues in the Agriculture Workforce Coalition steering committee to bring together nearly 300 groups to call on Senate Leaders Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to take up ag labor reform in the Senate. The message noted how American agriculture’s workforce crisis has only intensified due to the COVID-19 pandemic, emphasizing the urgent need for Senate action. It also highlighted specific, longstanding problems with the H-2A agricultural guestworker visa program to be addressed in a Senate measure, including the need to grant dairy farmers and other year-round producers access to guestworkers. The coalition followed up its June 8 letter to leadership but sharing it with all Senate offices, helping to ensure agriculture’s dire need for ag labor reform is understood across the entire chamber.

NMPF, other agricultural organizations, and farmworker groups on June 16 met with Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Mike Crapo (R-ID) for an ag labor reform roundtable. During the forum, stakeholders underscored the need for Senate action on its answer to the Farm Workforce Modernization Act, and both senators reiterated their commitment to introduce a measure that builds and improves upon the House legislation. Vilsack also pledged to prioritize ag workforce reform within the Biden Administration.