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Political Divide: Politics Slowing Farm Workforce Modernization Act Progress

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By Clint Thompson

A Senate resolution to the Farm Workforce Modernization Act is much needed for the future of vegetable and specialty crop farming in Florida. There’s just no guarantee that one will be developed in the near future. Politics are playing a role in the process being slowed, almost to a halt, says Mike Joyner, Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association (FFVA) President.

Mike Joyner

“We worked for over a year on that House Bill, the Farm Workforce Modernization Act. We didn’t get all we wanted. In fact, there are a number of things in there that we need fixed. It’s now over in the Senate. Right now, there’s no movement on it at all. It gets wrapped up in immigration, border issues and things like that,” Joyner said.

“We are desperate to make changes. Some of the changes we’re asking to be made in the Senate are with regards to wages; how those wages are calculated, how long that guest worker can stay in the country. We continue to work with the Senate to be ready when that issue starts moving. Our Florida senators are ready to go. They know what our concerns are. But right now, it’s not moving. It’s caught up in politics.”

The House of Representatives passed the Farm Workforce Modernization Act in March, which would make changes to the current H-2A agricultural guest worker program. Now, it’s up to the Senate.

Florida is the No. 1 user of the H-2A program in the country.