Farm Workforce Modernization Act Passed by Judiciary Committee
The House Judiciary Committee has passed the Farm Workforce Modernization Act, and the bill now proceeds to the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives for consideration. The bill is designed to help the agricultural industry retain a reliable, legal workforce, includes reforms to the H-2A guest worker program and measures to ensure the agricultural industry will have access to a skilled workforce.
Highlights of the bill are as follows.
- Simplified H2-A paperwork that allows growers to file one petition for the entire season
- Allows employers to post job openings on an online job registry
- Reduces labor costs by freezing wages for one year and capping wage growth
- Allows legitimate farmworkers the opportunity to obtain a five-year Certified Agriculture Worker visa; unlimited renewals can be obtained if the worker meets minimum work days requirements
- Provides Certified Agriculture Workers with the opportunity to apply for a green card
- Makes 60,000 year-round H2-A visas available during the first three years, with a 12.5 percent annual growth in visas subsequently
The California Avocado Commission was one of 300 agriculture groups that signed a letter urging House leaders to pass the bill. The Commission will continue to advocate on behalf of growers and work with Congress on securing a stable labor solution.
To learn more about the bill, California avocado growers can visit United Fresh’s Farm Workforce Modernization Act webpage, view a one-page summary of the bill and review a list of myths and facts concerning the bill. For those interested in showing their support for the bill, they can contact their local Representative via United Fresh’s Farm Workforce Modernization Act action center.