An immigration reform bill introduced this week by Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho) could be valuable in providing legal workers for farmers and ranchers needing additional labor.

“This bill represents an important step forward in the long-running debate on farm worker immigration reform,” says American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman. “It will reform the temporary worker visa program for agriculture, the so-called H-2a program, by streamlining the application procedure and making the requirement for immigrant employee wages uniform with temporary immigration programs for nurses, computer programmers and food processing workers.”

Craig’s new bill would offer illegal farm workers an opportunity to gain a legal work status. They would be required to work in agriculture for about 150 days per year in four out of six years. Once that work obligation has been completed, workers could apply for residency status, allowing them to remain in the United States or travel freely this country and their home country.