WASHINGTON – International Fresh Produce Association BB #:378962 members spearheaded a press conference today along with other members of the Alliance for a New Immigration Consensus (ANIC) calling for urgent Senate action on immigration reform. Lori Taylor of The Produce Moms and Tara Smith Vighetti of Smith Farms highlighted the need for immigration reform that is vital to the fresh produce industry and for consumers facing high food prices.
Lori Taylor of The Produce Moms highlighted the impact that the failure to pass immigration reform is having on already inflated food prices. “Swift action in immigration reform will empower America’s farmers and ranchers to improve labor efficiencies,” said Taylor. “Our agriculture supply chain is tasked with feeding America and feeding the world – a strong supply chain and affordable food prices starts at the farm level. Through immigration reform we can provide relief to deserving families across America that are struggling to buy groceries as we all fight unprecedented inflation in food.”
Tara Smith, a farmer and partner in Smith farms who has operations in Maine and Florida highlighted the impact on farming operations like hers. “Currently the H-2A process does not allow farmers to secure workers in time or in the right numbers to align labor with the beginning and ending of production windows with real certainty,” said Smith. “The process to execute H-2A applications is arduous administratively and legally, which makes the program difficult if not impossible to access for small farming companies. As a result of each of these shortfalls we see higher prices due to labor shortages and limited supply because farm families give up trying to compete with insecure labor supply. Movement on the issue of reform is needed now.”
Congress has the ability to act today to prevent a shortage of farm workers and the resulting shortage of fresh produce in grocery stores already suffering from challenges in the food supply chain.
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