Reintroducing AgJOBS

AgJOBS is back. The bill, titled the Agricultural Jobs, Opportunity, Benefits and Security Act of 2009, or AgJOBS, was reintroduced Thursday in the Senate by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and in the House by Congressmen Howard Berman (D-CA) and Adam Putnam (R-FL).

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Introduced in 2003, AgJobs was passed by the Senate as part of a comprehensive immigration bill in 2006. Leadership in the House, however, failed to take the measure up before adjournment.

A two-part bill, the first part of AgJOBS would allow workers to qualify for temporary resident status provided they can prove they were substantially employed in U.S. agriculture during the past two years. Such workers would eventually be permitted to apply for permanent residency status provided they can prove that they have performed extensive agricultural work in the U.S. after the bill’s enactment. The second part restructures and reforms the current H-2A temporary agricultural worker program.

“Immigration reform is essential to stem this [farm worker] crisis,” said Tom Stenzel, president of United Fresh Produce Association, in a letter of support for the bill’s reintroduction. “AgJobs is a widely-supported, comprehensive package of reforms intended to meet that objective. It includes reasonable measures to ensure a predictable, documented workforce, along with enhanced security and enforcement provisions.”

Western Growers President and CEO Tom Nassif also applauds the the reintroduction of the bill. “We commend Senator Feinstein and Congressmen Berman and Putnam for showing tremendous political courage,” he said. “The current economic crisis has only magnified what our industry has been saying for years. Despite record unemployment in parts of this country, we are not seeing American workers willing to take jobs as field laborers.”

“This is more than an immigration issue; it’s an economic issue,” Nassif continued. “California agriculture is a $37 billion industry. Without the passage and implementation of AgJOBS, California and the nation will continue to export farms along with the field jobs and the three to four upstream and downstream jobs that are created in the economy.”

Leave a Reply

Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

My husband and I are both working outside the home in Ag related jobs; often in the fields. Then we have a small amount of acreage that we also work in the fields; because we can’t afford to hire out work that frequently. We are both natural born American Citizens. We have both worked in the field in agricultural positions before. What is going to be done about all the illegal aliens? There is going to be another can of worms opened up with forged documents to get this new H2A status. Yes we need help in the agriculture business; and yes there are a lot of american citizens that think they are too good to get their hands dirty and work under harsh conditions to make a living. But what about the small farmers? There have been so many programs to help the big farms; what about us little guys?

Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

Round and round we go,where we stop only the President knows.There are so many intelligent people in Washington,but why it takes so long to get something done with an immigration bill just baffles me.As a business man I only have a planting,growing and harvesting season to make a crop and hopefully a profit.Politicians can talk the talk,but have a difficult time to walk the walk.

Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

to respond to Debra, AgJOBS is not a large farmer program only. Fact is, the revisions to the H2A program is designed to help both large and small growers. The cumberson steps that have to be taken now for growers to receive H2A workers is bad for everyone, regradless if you need two workers or 200. If Agjobs or something close to this is not finally passed, then all growers will find it harder and harder to have a reliable supply of dependable and legal workers.If you are in the Dairy industry , you presently can not use the only legal system avaialbe H2A, because Dairy is not considerd seasonal. 15 or 1500 cows, the same.

Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

Re: the small farmer.

When enough small farmers can get together a lobbying group and threaten the position of some congressman or senators, then someone will listen. That seems to be the only way to get attention. Certainly ethics has no bearing.

Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

I am a Farm Technologist / Consultant with 38 years of experience in field crops, plantations, pesticide industry and fertilizer industry. Presently I am a technical consultant for large fertilzer company in India. Farmers’ welfare is my life’s mission.
I have a stong bondage with US. Two of my three children are in US, one in Chicago and other in Freemont. My three grand children are US born.
I am wondering whether I could be of some help for US farmers.
Any one interested can consult me.
Regards,
R.L.N.Murthy
[email protected]

Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

Everyone should be made to view the documentary film American Harvest by Angelo Mancuso, then maybe this country would get it. A DVD version can be purchased for $14.99 on Amazon.com.

Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

My husband and I are both working outside the home in Ag related jobs; often in the fields. Then we have a small amount of acreage that we also work in the fields; because we can’t afford to hire out work that frequently. We are both natural born American Citizens. We have both worked in the field in agricultural positions before. What is going to be done about all the illegal aliens? There is going to be another can of worms opened up with forged documents to get this new H2A status. Yes we need help in the agriculture business; and yes there are a lot of american citizens that think they are too good to get their hands dirty and work under harsh conditions to make a living. But what about the small farmers? There have been so many programs to help the big farms; what about us little guys?

Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

Round and round we go,where we stop only the President knows.There are so many intelligent people in Washington,but why it takes so long to get something done with an immigration bill just baffles me.As a business man I only have a planting,growing and harvesting season to make a crop and hopefully a profit.Politicians can talk the talk,but have a difficult time to walk the walk.

Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

to respond to Debra, AgJOBS is not a large farmer program only. Fact is, the revisions to the H2A program is designed to help both large and small growers. The cumberson steps that have to be taken now for growers to receive H2A workers is bad for everyone, regradless if you need two workers or 200. If Agjobs or something close to this is not finally passed, then all growers will find it harder and harder to have a reliable supply of dependable and legal workers.If you are in the Dairy industry , you presently can not use the only legal system avaialbe H2A, because Dairy is not considerd seasonal. 15 or 1500 cows, the same.

Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

Re: the small farmer.

When enough small farmers can get together a lobbying group and threaten the position of some congressman or senators, then someone will listen. That seems to be the only way to get attention. Certainly ethics has no bearing.

Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

I am a Farm Technologist / Consultant with 38 years of experience in field crops, plantations, pesticide industry and fertilizer industry. Presently I am a technical consultant for large fertilzer company in India. Farmers’ welfare is my life’s mission.
I have a stong bondage with US. Two of my three children are in US, one in Chicago and other in Freemont. My three grand children are US born.
I am wondering whether I could be of some help for US farmers.
Any one interested can consult me.
Regards,
R.L.N.Murthy
[email protected]

Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

Everyone should be made to view the documentary film American Harvest by Angelo Mancuso, then maybe this country would get it. A DVD version can be purchased for $14.99 on Amazon.com.