By Clint Thompson
Labor reform is at the top of the list of concerns for vegetable and specialty crop producers in the Southeast. Congress needs to formulate a solution sooner rather than later, says Drew Echols, president of the Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association (GFVGA).
“What we need is we need our republican friends to engage the democrats on this labor issue for us. I’m not saying that we give the democrats a win, I’m just saying we need to play ball with them. We need for them to come together because on immigration, on workforce, to be honest with you, we align more with democrats than republicans,” Echols said. “A lot of times the republicans have been the roadblock and I’d like to think these republicans will come to the table over the next year or so and might get something done.
“We’ve been talking about this for a long time. I think from my experience is democrats are going to lead on this issue. We just all need to be in the same sandbox together, because we need some reform. We need help. The more we kick the can down the road, the bigger of a problem it becomes. It’s an enormous problem right now.”
Labor will be front and center at the annual Georgia Ag Labor Relations Forum at the University of Georgia Tifton Campus Conference Center in Tifton, Georgia on Nov. 9-10.
According to a GFVGA press release, topics this year will include, Political Outlook on Ag Labor Policies; Farm Labor Modernization Act; Wage Calculations and Audit Prep; Discrimination, Harassment and Retaliation in the Workplace; What’s up with AEWR; H-2A Updates and H-2A Basics; and H-2B Updates.
Click here to register. Attendees who register before Oct. 8 can take advantage of the Early Bird Registration and pay $225. The price will increase to $250 afterward.
For more information on this event, visit, www.georgiaaglaborforum.com.