Home News Michigan Ag News Meijer Backs Bill to Support West Michigan Agriculture Industry

Meijer Backs Bill to Support West Michigan Agriculture Industry

Friday, U.S. Representative Peter Meijer (R-MI)  released the following statement upon House passage of H.R. 1603, the Farm Workforce Modernization Act:

“Workforce shortages present some of the greatest challenges for West Michigan’s agricultural industries,” said Rep. Meijer. “The existing workforce programs should reflect the needs of producers and suppliers. This legislation makes significant progress towards that standard and would ensure our businesses have access to a legal workforce for the duration of the varying seasons agriculture commodities demand. I am proud this bipartisan bill passed the House with my support.”

The Farm Workforce Modernization Act would:

  • Make changes to H2A temporary agriculture worker visa program;
  • Dedicate an additional 40,000 green cards per year for agriculture workers and create a new capped program for employers seeking to fill year-round needs;
  • Establish a mandatory, nationwide E-verify system;
  • Provide earned legal status for certified agriculture workers.

Click here to read the bill.

The bill has broad support in Michigan, including from the Michigan Agribusiness Association, the Michigan Apple Association, and the Michigan Milk Association.

“The bipartisan Farm Workforce Modernization Act would provide badly-needed certainty and solutions for agricultural employers and farmworkers across America. Our broken immigration system creates huge challenges for agriculture, especially in regions such as West Michigan that are home to substantial specialty crop production. We appreciate Rep. Peter Meijer for his support of the Farm Workforce Modernization Act, which would be a major benefit for West Michigan agriculture if approved, and we applaud his willingness to work with leaders in both parties to reform America’s outdated, broken immigration system,” said Chuck Lippstreu, President of the Michigan Agri-Business Association.

“The Michigan Apple industry greatly appreciates the support of Rep. Meijer on HR 1603. The Farm Workforce Modernization Act stabilizes the current agriculture workforce providing an earned legalization process. Apples must be picked by hand, so a legal and skilled workforce is a critical component of getting apples from the orchards to the store shelves. We appreciate Rep. Meijer’s support of legislation that streamlines the process of hiring an ag labor workforce that will be responsive and beneficial for both growers and workers alike,” said Diane Smith, Executive Director, Michigan Apple Association.

“We are pleased to see Congressman Meijer support the Farm Workforce Modernization Act. This legislation is a much needed and long overdue step for ag labor reform. One of the key provisions for the dairy industry is the reforming of the H2A guestworker program to include dairy and other year-round sectors. We appreciate Congressman Meijer’s understanding of the need to address this issue for the dairy industry,” said Sheila Burkhardt, Michigan Milk Producers Association.

U.S. Representative Peter Meijer (R-MI) today released the following statement upon House passage of H.R. 1603, the Farm Workforce Modernization Act:

“Workforce shortages present some of the greatest challenges for West Michigan’s agricultural industries,” said Rep. Meijer. “The existing workforce programs should reflect the needs of producers and suppliers. This legislation makes significant progress towards that standard and would ensure our businesses have access to a legal workforce for the duration of the varying seasons agriculture commodities demand. I am proud this bipartisan bill passed the House with my support.”

The Farm Workforce Modernization Act would:

  • Make changes to H2A temporary agriculture worker visa program;
  • Dedicate an additional 40,000 green cards per year for agriculture workers and create a new capped program for employers seeking to fill year-round needs;
  • Establish a mandatory, nationwide E-verify system;
  • Provide earned legal status for certified agriculture workers.

Click here to read the bill.

The bill has broad support in Michigan, including from the Michigan Agribusiness Association, the Michigan Apple Association, and the Michigan Milk Association.

“The bipartisan Farm Workforce Modernization Act would provide badly-needed certainty and solutions for agricultural employers and farmworkers across America. Our broken immigration system creates huge challenges for agriculture, especially in regions such as West Michigan that are home to substantial specialty crop production. We appreciate Rep. Peter Meijer for his support of the Farm Workforce Modernization Act, which would be a major benefit for West Michigan agriculture if approved, and we applaud his willingness to work with leaders in both parties to reform America’s outdated, broken immigration system,” said Chuck Lippstreu, President of the Michigan Agri-Business Association.

“The Michigan Apple industry greatly appreciates the support of Rep. Meijer on HR 1603. The Farm Workforce Modernization Act stabilizes the current agriculture workforce providing an earned legalization process. Apples must be picked by hand, so a legal and skilled workforce is a critical component of getting apples from the orchards to the store shelves. We appreciate Rep. Meijer’s support of legislation that streamlines the process of hiring an ag labor workforce that will be responsive and beneficial for both growers and workers alike,” said Diane Smith, Executive Director, Michigan Apple Association.

“We are pleased to see Congressman Meijer support the Farm Workforce Modernization Act. This legislation is a much needed and long overdue step for ag labor reform. One of the key provisions for the dairy industry is the reforming of the H2A guestworker program to include dairy and other year-round sectors. We appreciate Congressman Meijer’s understanding of the need to address this issue for the dairy industry,” said Sheila Burkhardt, Michigan Milk Producers Association.

Source: Rep. Meijer press release