President Donald J. Trump, for the third year in a row, will speak at the AFBF Annual Convention. The address is scheduled for January 19 in Austin, Texas, at the Austin Convention Center.
“The American Farm Bureau is honored President Trump will return for a third consecutive year to speak with farmers and ranchers who work tirelessly to produce the quality food and fiber our country needs,” said AFBF President Zippy Duvall. “We are grateful that he has made agricultural issues a priority and look forward to welcoming him to Austin at a time when there is much to talk about, from trade progress to important regulatory reforms.”
Other officials currently scheduled to attend are: Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler, Senate Agriculture Chairman Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) and Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.).
The House of Representatives passed the Farm Workforce Modernization Act by a vote of 260 to 165. The bill would ease immigration for agricultural workers. It won the support of over 300 farm groups, as well as the United Farm Workers.
The Hagstrom Report points out that the California Farm Bureau supported the bill but the American Farm Bureau Federation did not. AFB fears the bill will lead to higher wages for farm workers and increase the legal vulnerability of farm employers. President Zippy Duvall says several amendments that would have addressed Farm Bureau concerns were blocked from consideration, so they “do not support the final bill passed by the House.”
Heritage Action for America says it grants amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants without doing anything to “reform our broken immigration system.” Zoe Lofgren of California, the lead sponsor of the bill, says, “Our bill offers stability for American farms by providing a path to legal status for our farm workers.”
Republicans weren’t happy about the bill’s formula for calculating farm wages and complained that the year-round visa pilot program doesn’t include the meat and poultry sectors. They also objected to providing “amnesty” to undocumented immigrants working on U.S. farms. The bill’s prospects in the Senate and with President Trump are described as problematic.