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Matt Rice Ag Labor
by Matt Rice, click here for bio

Program: Line on Agriculture
Date: September 25, 2017

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Bob Naerebout, Executive Director of the Idaho Dairymen's Association, Inc: “With the latest administrative action on DACA and House Judiciary Committee Chairman's intention to introduce agriculture specific immigration legislation, action on immigration reform seems to be moving forward. This is great news for the Idaho Dairymen's Association (IDA) and our membership. Through Charlie Garrison, our Washington DC lobbyist, IDA has been part of the negotiating team working toward federal legislation to fix the ag labor crisis for several years. We've gotten close before but politics has a way of intervening on immigration reform - easily one of the most controversial political issues of our time.

We recognize there remains no bigger challenge facing Idaho's dairy industry today than the shortage of workers. IDA has never given up on working to find a solution. While other groups have endorsed half-measures that wouldn't solve your labor issues, we stayed at the table working with the leadership and staff of the House Judiciary Committee specifically for the last four years on bill language that would allow Idaho dairy producers to retain their current workers, have access to year-round workers and access to legal new workers when they are needed in the future.”

Labor force is issue number one in the fruit growing and packing business. Having a workforce when the crops are ready for picking and packing is a must. Symms Fruit Ranch Manager, Darr Symms: “We have 70 laborers that work for us, mostly H2-A out of Mexico.”

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