Washington, DC – Congressman Bill Owens joins with a bipartisan group of New York Congressmen to introduce the “Family Farm Relief Act,” Owens is an original co-sponsor of the bill to improve the H-2A visa program used by family farms inNew YorkState. The bill would transfer oversight of the current farm worker program from the Department of Labor to the USDA and make a series of reforms to improve the program for producers that rely on it for farm labor.
Ownes says “he’s had the opportunity to meet with farmers across the district who use the visa program to find seasonal labor,” and he says “many report this program is in need of serious reform,”
The bill itself provides for an electronic filing system for H-2A petitions and repeals or prohibits a series of regulations imposed on farmers through the program including domestic workforce regulations and recruitment requirements. The bill also specifically opens the program to certain dairy workers, previously barred from participation in the program.
The H-2A visa program allows farmers to hire foreign seasonal workers when domestic labor is unavailable. Owens tells WNBZ he believes “they can make the H-2A program run better, and in doing so,” he says, “we can help pave the way for family farms across the state to do well in the years ahead.”