NPC Welcomes H-2A Wage Freeze Included In FY25 Appropriations Bill

Published online: Jul 01, 2024 Articles
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Washington – The National Potato Council welcomed recent action by the House Appropriations Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Subcommittee to pass a Fiscal Year 2025 bill that includes language to reduce the H-2A Adverse Effect Wage Rate (AEWR) to the 2023 level and freeze that rate for two years.

“We appreciate the recognition by so many members of Congress of the significant impact of the unpredictable increases in the AEWR on growers across the country,” said NPC President and Colorado potato grower Bob Mattive. “No business can successfully operate when confronted by volatile and chaotic changes in labor rates, and we shouldn’t expect our nation’s food producers to be burdened by these annual uncertainties.”

“We thank Reps. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho) and John Moolenaar (R-Mich.) for their support during the Subcommittee process, and Reps. Bill Huizenga (MI), Dan Kildee (D-Mich), Rick Crawford (R-Ark.), and Don Davis (D-N.C.) for leading a bipartisan letter signed by 120 House members calling for an H-2A visa guestworker wage freeze,” said Dean Gibson, NPC Vice President of Legislative Affairs and Idaho potato grower. “We appreciate Congress for addressing how AWER changes are stressing family farms seeking to use the H-2A program and urge continued support for this language as the bill moves through the House and Senate.”

The Subcommittee action comes on the heels of a bipartisan May 2024 letter signed by 120 House Members that was sent to House Appropriations leaders requesting an H-2A visa guestworker wage freeze in the FY25 appropriations process. The authors noted that the AEWR has more than doubled since 2005, making agricultural labor and its products more unaffordable.