Key Agricultural Policy Issues for 2020 Election

What issues matter most this year for American farmers and where does each administration stand?

Nearly 70 percent of Americans believe the 2020 presidential election will be the most important election in their lifetime, according to a recent poll. This year’s election is shaping up to be one of the most historic elections in U.S. history and agriculture is central to many key issues.Read More

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Specialty Crop Farmers and the Growing Farm Labor Shortage

The COVID-19 pandemic has magnified an existing challenge in the agricultural community.

Farm labor shortage was a prevalent topic for U.S. agriculture in a pre-pandemic world as securing adequate labor is an essential part of the industry. COVID-19 exacerbated farm labor shortages that already existed within U.S. agriculture and highlighted which sectors are most vulnerable within the U.S. domestic food supply system.

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(Infographic) The U.S. Farm Labor Shortage

The impact of the farm labor shortage on U.S. agriculture.

As of 2016, hired farm workers made up 35.3 percent of the total hours worked on a farming operation, second only to the principal operator. These workers perform essential daily tasks needed to keep a successful farm running, such as caring for livestock, working in the fields, and maintaining farm machinery. As the population of farm labor continues to decline, primary operators are feeling the pressure to find alternative solutions to keep up with production for the growing demand of fresh produce.

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The H-2A Temporary Agriculture Workers Program Offers Interim Relief for Labor Shortage

Understand the benefits and drawbacks of the H-2A visa program.

Farmers across the nation are facing an industry-wide challenge: labor shortage. The gap between available farming jobs and a willing workforce continues to widen. The average ratio of available farm jobs for every applicant is 2:1, and in California, it’s 4:1. Simply put, the agriculture industry needs more workers to adequately fill their operational needs.Read More

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U.S. Farmers Encounter Ongoing Farm Labor Shortage

Find out how the U.S. farm labor shortage is impacting our nation’s farmers.

It’s no secret that farming is typically more than a one-person job, especially on large-scale operations with several moving parts. As a result, many farmers rely on hired agricultural workers or farm hands – but some are finding it more challenging to find reliable employees due to a widespread farm labor shortage.Read More

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Future of Farm Labor in Florida

Seasonal and migrant farm workers play an integral part in the production and harvesting of Florida’s high value signature crops.

They are also a big topic of conversation and at the center of many economical and social issues.

Farm workers and their advocates claim:

  • That workers are grossly underpaid.
  • That workers are a cheap source of labor.
  • That workers are exposed to harmful pesticides and working conditions that put them in grave physical danger.


Employers and their advocates disagree, claiming that there is nothing cheap about farm labor, especially when you’re factoring in both the impact of minimum wage on piece rates and the enormous costs of being in regulatory compliance with farm labor laws.

Despite these disagreements, workers and employers are both in agreement when it comes to Immigration Reform. Both sides agree that the development of a cost effective, workable temporary/guest worker program is paramount.

In Florida, there is a very high percentage of farm workers that aren’t legally documented. In fact, 70% of seasonal workers are not authorized to be in US, much less working in the US – a very serious concern.

Due to this, adequate/legal harvesting labor is becoming more and more difficult for Florida growers to find. 

If growers don’t find the labor they need, food prices will continue to increase, food safety will be challenging to monitor, there will be no such thing as locally grown, and Americans will not be able to harvest their row crops.

The only solution is comprehensive Immigration Reform. This is needed to fix the legal status of current workers and also, to secure a legal flow of workers in the future.

So, what’s the outlook for Florida farm labor in 2014?

Uncertain. Unresolved. Unacceptable.

But here’s what is certain: The cost of farm labor will be higher as minimum wage rates go up and as the climate for enhanced regulations remains high. What’s more, employers must gear up for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“Obama Care”) and determine whether or not they need to provide their workers with health care insurance or not. Lastly, until the US Congress develops sound Immigration Reform, labor availability will remain questionable, especially for speciality crop growers.

All Florida growers can do is sit back, wait, and hope that Congress doesn’t stall reform too much longer. Here’s hoping!

How’s your Florida ag operation running? AgAmerica Lending, a Florida based ag lending company, is here to assist your operation in any way that we can.  AgAmerica is proud to be the only lender in the Southeast authorized to offer AgAmerica Conventional farm loans. Interest rates for these ag loans often beat all other agriculture loan programs. Needing cash to plant your next crop? Is it time to expand your citrus groves? These agricultural loans are a great choice!

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