Commission to Host Labor and Immigration Seminars on August 2 and 3
The availability for skilled farm labor throughout agriculture continues to be an issue of concern. With this year’s smaller California avocado crop, farmers — in most instances — found the necessary harvest labor. However, as this season’s harvest nears completion, the focus is shifting to next year and early projections are for a much larger crop.
The current Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) activities, whether real or perceived, are a limiting factor on the availability of agricultural labor with an already aging workforce. To make matters worse, Congress continues to lack the political will to pass legislation that would provide both a legal path for existing farmworkers to remain and create a program for new workers.
The California Avocado Commission is advocating on the importance of an agricultural workforce and the need for a guest worker program at all levels of government. In August, we will host two grower seminars and provide a status update on possible legislative efforts along with information on the H2A Temporary Agricultural Workers program. Speakers will include Craig Regelbrugge, Senior Vice President, Industry Advocacy & Research for AmericanHort and Co-Chairman, Agriculture Coalition for Immigration Reform (ACIR); and, Jason Resnick, Vice President and General Counsel for Western Growers. Both have significant experience on the labor issues facing agriculture and are key players in the efforts to find solutions.
Presentation topics will include, “Workforce changing demographics; present-tense political dynamics and outlook;” and “H-2A Temporary Agricultural Workers program, requirements and challenges.” There also will be a panel discussion to include growers who are currently utilizing the H2A program, along with time for questions.
The Commission does not believe the H2A program is the long-term solution. However, in facing the reality of the current challenges on labor availability and with no solution in sight, it’s imperative that growers consider all existing options to ensure that the California avocado crop makes it to market.
Seminar information as follows:
Wednesday, August 2, 2017
Grand Tradition Estate
220 Grand Tradition Way, Fallbrook
9:00 AM – 11:00 AM
Thursday, August 3, 2017
Ventura County Agriculture Museum
926 Railroad Ave., Santa Paula
9:00 AM - 11:00 AM