House Immigration Vote?
Created by rrummel on 10/29/2013 4:54:34 PM

No, But Farm Bureau Presses On


It's being reported that House Republican leadership does not plan to hold a vote on immigration reform legislation before the end of the year. Apparently there are a number of reasons why immigration reform will not come up in the 19 days the House is scheduled to be in session before year’s end. For one - sources say there’s growing skepticism that the party’s preferred piecemeal immigration bills could garner the support of all Republicans - which would be necessary if Democrats did not lend their votes. Republican leadership also doesn’t see anyone uniting around a single plan.

Farm Bureau on the other hand has launched it’s ‘The Heat is On campaign’ - and has produced three videos that show the need for immigration reform is more than just hype. The release of the videos came as farmers gathered in Washington, D.C. Monday to share their stories of why a reliable agricultural workforce is a crucial part of immigration reform. The videos will help drive the ag labor message home as more than 50 fly-in participants from 15 states urge Congress to take action now on immigration reform.

In one video - farmer Ed Leo explains the challenge of finding workers to harvest mushrooms by hand. He needs workers year-round to harvest mushrooms for the fresh market. Because it’s been difficult to find and hire additional workers due to immigration issues - Leo says he and his partners had to harvest crops earlier than normal throughout the summer. He says the situation is getting worse and worse. Despite offering to pay double what local fast-food employees earn, plus health benefits, paid vacation time and holidays - few domestic workers are interested in working on the farm. Mechanized harvesting isn’t an option because fungi that start growing at the same time often vary in size and maturity level. Leo wants to employ legal workers and wants legislators to make sure there’s a pathway for hiring enough legal workers to get his mushroom crop harvested on time. Once Congress acts - Leo says he will have one less thing to worry about and can go back to the business of growing good, healthy mushrooms for consumers. Another video highlights South Carolina peach farmer Chalmers Carr explaining why reform of labor farm programs is so important to U.S. agriculture. The third video - with Oregon farmer Doug Krahmer - focuses on the challenge of finding enough pickers to harvest 500 acres of blueberries and to help with the year-round maintenance of plants.