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Seeking solutions for agriculture workforce shortage

Effective solutions are needed on a national level to address a growing shortfall in agricultural labor, according to Craig Regelbrugge, senior vice president of AmericanHort, and co-chair of the Agricultural Coalition for Immigration Reform.

Emphasizing the importance of political engagement, Regelbrugge encouraged FFVA members to be active advocates for agricultural immigration reform. “Do your homework, understand the key arguments, and reach out to your elected representatives,” he said at a Wednesday Issues Forum, “Workforce Worry: A Path Forward for Reform.”

Jamie Williams, chair of FFVA’s Workforce Committee, introduced Regelbrugge at the session, adding, “Workforce is our number one issue, and it’s not getting better.”

Looking at the current situation, Regelbrugge reviewed the National Agricultural Worker Survey based on the latest available data.  “Agriculture’s workforce is aging,” he said, noting that the average number of years of farm experience was 16 in 2016 compared with eight years in 2009.