Farmers, lawmakers struggling to find answers to ag’s labor shortage

Both farmers and lawmakers are concerned about the labor shortage in the ag industry.  But finding a solution isn’t easy.

South-Central Nebraska farmer Jay Reiners says he’s running out of people to hire to work on his operation. “Most farmers are in their 60s and 70s and they’re still farming and by the time they retire, they don’t want to sit in a truck or a tractor anymore.”

He tells Brownfield he hires retired farmers but is only a short-term solution and doesn’t solve the bigger issue.

The House of Representatives passed The Farmer Workforce Modernization Act earlier this year which would update the seasonal worker visa program and would provide a streamlined path to citizenship for migrant farmworkers.

But, Kansas Governor Laura Kelly tells Brownfield that, too, doesn’t solve the problem. “We’re now going to work with a coalition that is already put together at the national level representing all these ag interests to see if there is some way we can work together to tailor a bill that would address some of the issues folks of had.”

Kelly spoke with Brownfield at the Kansas City Agribusiness Luncheon honoring retired Senator Pat Roberts.

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