“New York Farm Bureau very much appreciates the letter that four members of New York’s Republican Congressional delegation sent to their leadership in the House of Representatives, including to Speaker John Boehner.
"The letter signed by Congressmen Chris Gibson, Tom Reed, Richard Hanna and Chris Collins outlines the critical need for agriculture labor reform and underscores the harsh economic reality on farming in this state if nothing is done.
"The letter stresses that 'the inability of New York farmers to access a stable and legal workforce has cost New York jobs, and impacts the safe and reliable supply of food and fiber produced in this state.'
"We are seeing this statement ring true on our farms every day as major business decisions are put on hold out of worries we won’t have the workers needed for the basic farm duties like harvesting the crops or milking the cows. Some of our farmers have even scaled back food production because of a lack of labor.
"While our Representatives were back in their home districts during the August recess, New York Farm Bureau along with a number of other important stakeholder organizations had productive meetings with members of both parties who are eager to find a sensible solution that will not only help our farm economy prosper, but our country’s economy as well.
"It is time we have immigration reform, and we are hopeful the leadership in the House will take the letter to heart and act. As this country continues to have serious discussions about national security, having a safe and reliable food supply grown in the U.S. must be a part of that conversation. The only alternative to immigration reform is importing more of our food,” Norton said.
New York Farm Bureau worked closely on this effort in conjunction with many others in support of immigration reform. They include the Northeast Dairy Producers Association (NEDPA), Farm Credit East, New York State Vegetable Growers Association, Northeast Ag and Feed Alliance, Agrimark, Dairylea Cooperative, and Upstate Niagara Cooperative.