AgDay TV: Growers discuss ag labor legislation

Ag Workers AgDay Betsy Jibben
California lemon grower Al Stehly of Rockwood Ranch discusses the need for a workable farm worker labor bill.

Produce growers are searching for long-term solutions not just a short-term fix when it comes to agricultural labor.

However, lawmakers and the farming community are mixed when it comes to those different solutions.

The Ag Guest worker Act, introduced by Chairman Bob Goodlatte cleared the House Judiciary Committee in late October. It’s designed to replace the H-2A Program.

That’s not the only piece of legislation floating around Congress.

Lawmaker Lamar Smith introduced legislation called the Legal Workforce Act, which could mandate employers to use the e-verify system to check legal status of agricultural employees.

It’s a tug-of-war battle to see which piece of legislation proposed at roughly the same time will work for farmers.

AgDay national reporter Betsy Jibben talked with West Coast produce growers Neil Nagata with Nagata Bros. Farms, Oceanside, Calif. (berries), and Al Stehly with Rockwood Ranch in Escondido, Calif. (lemons), about their challenges and thoughts on potential legislation.

Jibben also talked with Tom Nassif, president and CEO of Western Growers.