Police Action Alone Will Not Solve Farm Labor Need

Feb. 10, 2015

Consumers will share a new burden if Congress adopts immigration reform that only targets enforcement. A recently issued report indicates that such an approach will hike food prices up to six percent.

The report’s authors call for immigration reform that includes a redesigned guest farm worker program, an opportunity for current guest workers to acquire legal visitor status and immigration law enforcement. This three-pronged solution offers the best means of sustaining abundant food production in the U.S. as well as protecting the nation’s borders.

Conducted by a private firm for the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF), the report presents a bleak scenario for fruit and vegetable production if an enforcement-only measure is approved. The fruit harvest could plummet by as much as 61 percent; vegetable crop totals could be slashed by 31 percent.

According to AFBF President Bob Stallman, “Most Americans believe they have outgrown farm work, which is reflected in their unwillingness to take farm jobs. The bottom line of this study is that we either import our labor or we import our food.”

The report is available at http://www.fb.org/newsroom/nr/nr2014/02-10-14/labor-study14c0207.pdf.