AgJOBS legislation reintroduced in Congress

The American Nursery and Landscape Association (ANLA) has applauded the efforts of a bipartisan group of Congress members who reintroduced the Agricultural Job Opportunity, Benefit and Security Act of 2007 (AgJOBS) today.

Senators and representatives, including Senators Larry Craig, R-Idaho, and Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and Representatives George Radanovich, R-Calif., and Howard Berman, D-Calif., described past initiatives to help the worsening farm labor crisis affecting fruit and vegetable, dairy, nursery and greenhouse and other producers. They emphasized that the AgJOBS bill could be successful this year.

Leading growers joined the Congressional leaders in calling for passage of the AgJOBS legislation. Toni Scully, a pear grower in Lake County, California, says labor shortages led to the loss of crops in his county last year. “A farmer gambles with weather, market conditions, and government regulations,” says Scully. “It is extremely painful for a farmer to have to see a portion of his crop abandoned, or fruit culled out because it was harvested too late, and that is what happened to about 25 percent of our county crop last year.”

As co-chair of the Agriculture Coalition for Immigration Reform, ANLA played a major coordinating role in the press conference announcing the reintroduction of the AgJOBS bill, and several ANLA leaders represented the association and the nursery and landscape industry, including Greg Schaan, Imperial Nurseries, Connecticut; Bob Terry, Fisher Farms, Oregon; Alan Jones, Manor View Farm, Maryland; and Bryan Champion, Losely & Son, Ohio.

“Our industry has been at the heart and soul of the AgJOBS effort, and will be a major beneficiary of its reforms when enacted,” says Craig Regelbrugge, senior director of government relations for ANLA. “It is time for the industry to reengage the education and grassroots, and push AgJOBS across the goal line.”

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