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Michigan farmers rally on Capitol Hill
Michigan Ag Connection - 02/26/2024

The Michigan Farm Bureau's Labor Advisory Committee, along with several industry groups, visited the nation's capital to address the National Council of Agricultural Employers' Annual Meeting. They met with elected officials to emphasize the urgent need for action to tackle the labor crisis faced by agricultural workers.

The key issues highlighted by the committee include the significant increase in the Adverse Effect Wage Rate (AEWR) to $18.50 per hour in Michigan as of January 1, 2024. Additionally, they pointed out the substantial filing and asylum fee hikes for H-2A petitions set to start in April, reaching $1,090 per worker for large employers and $545 for smaller employers.

One positive development mentioned is a House Bill proposed by Rep. John Moolenaar (R-MI), which seeks to pause the AEWR at the 2023 level until the end of 2025. This bill has garnered support from the Michigan Farm Bureau, Michigan Apple Association, and the Michigan Vegetable Council.

During their visit, the group engaged with nine lawmakers or their staff members, including those from the offices of Senate Ag Committee Chair Sen. Debbie Stabenow and Senate Ag Committee minority leader Sen. John Boozman. The aim was to convey the gravity of the situation and stress the need for immediate action.

The urgency of the matter was emphasized by Antrim County Farm Bureau member Nathan McGuire, who stated that a solution is imperative now, as the industry doesn't have years but mere months to address the labor crisis, framing it as a matter of national security. The Michigan Farm Bureau is actively working to keep this issue in front of decision-makers and push for swift action.

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