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Inside: Abrashoff to headline state convention Page 3 Visit IFB at the State Fair Page 6 News in Brief................ 2 Around IFB................... 3 Education..................... 6 Communications.......... 7 Around Indiana............ 8 The Hoosier Farmer ® A Publication for Voting Members of Indiana Farm Bureau July 22, 2013 Issue No. 41 Senate approves broad immigration reform bill —From the American Farm Bureau Federation The immigration reform bill passed by the Senate on June 27 includes a fair and workable farm labor provision that is welcomed by America’s farmers and ranchers and is supported by Farm Bureau. For farmers, the two most important parts of the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013 (S. 744) are a “Blue Card” program for current experienced farm workers and a new agricultural visa program to meet future labor needs. These provisions are intended to ensure producers can keep their experienced workers and will replace the current H-2A guest worker program with a more flexible program. Under the Blue Card program, experienced agricultural workers can obtain legal immigration status by satisfying criteria such as passing a background check, paying a fine and proving that applicable taxes have been paid. Blue Card workers would be required to continue to work in agriculture before having the opportunity to qualify for a green card. The new ag visa program would allow agricultural employers to hire guest workers either under contract or at will. Visa holders would be able to work in the U.S. under a three-year visa and work for any designated agricultural employer. The program would be administered by USDA. The current H-2A visa Indiana Farm Bureau P.O. Box 1290 Indianapolis, IN 46206 program, which is supposed to allow citizens of other countries to enter the U.S. to do seasonal or temporary work, is in desperate need of reform for many reasons, not the least of which are that it is very difficult and often very time consuming to use. A national survey conducted by the National Council of Agricultural Employers showed that administrative delays resulted in workers arriving on the job an average of 22 days after the date of need, causing an economic loss of nearly $320 million in 2010 for farms that hired H-2A workers. The bill “also provides increased surveillance of highrisk areas along our borders,” AFBF President Stallman noted. “One of the best ways to improve border security is to create a legal, workable way for farm workers to enter our country,” Stallman said. “With less time and resources wasted locking up lettuce harvesters, the focus can shift to where it properly belongs – keeping those with criminal intentions out of our country.” Across the Capitol, the House Judiciary Committee has wrapped up work on a series of immigration reform bills. Individually marked-up and debated, they are expected to ultimately be part of a comprehensive immigration reform package. While Farm Bureau does not have a position on any of these bills, the organization has told the committee that farmers and ranchers are happy with the effort as an important first step in the House. Non-Profit Organization U.S. Postage PAID Huntington, IN Permit NO. 832 July 19, 2012 July 13, 2013 What a difference a year makes Farm Bureau members contrast 2012 to 2013 and discuss their planting issues and their experiences with crop insurance in two articles that can be found in the center spread of this issue of The Hoosier Farmer. These two photos were taken approximately a year apart, the one on the left in Johnson County and the one on the right near the Madison-Henry county line. Photos by Kathleen M. Dutro Farm Bureau works to get bill passed —From the AFBF Communications Team & Kathleen M. Dutro IFB PR Team With the House passage of H.R. 2642, Farm Bureau now moves on to the next phase in its farm bill negotiations: Getting a workable farm bill ready for the president’s signature by September. “While we were hopeful the farm bill would not be split, nor permanent law repealed, we will now focus our efforts on working with lawmakers to deliver a farm bill to the president’s desk for his signature by September,” said AFBF President Bob Stallman in a July 11 statement. AFBF said that the organization is grateful that a farm bill passed the U.S. House of Representatives although it does not like the substance of the bill. Its most important objections are to splitting the nutrition title from the remainder of the farm bill and to repealing what’s known as “permanent law,” which refers to the permanent authority for price support to producers of agricultural commodities that is provided in the Agricultural Act of 1949. AFBF opposed passage of the rule to split the farm bill for important reasons. First, AFBF said that splitting the nutrition title from the remaining provisions of the bill was more about politics than sound, bipartisan policy. Second, longstanding cooperation between the nutrition and farm communities has resulted in a partnership that, for decades, ensured all Americans benefited from the farm bill. “We in agriculture need the support of the nutrition community,“ IFB President Don Villwock said in an interview with Hoosier Ag Today. AFBF also was opposed to the repeal of permanent law contained in H.R. 2642. This provision received absolutely no discussion in any of the process leading up to the passage of the bill out of either the House or Senate Agriculture Committees, AFBF noted. To replace permanent law governing agricultural programs, without hearing from so much as a single witness on what that law should be replaced with, is not how good policy is developed. “The American Farm Bureau Federation looks forward to moving ahead with fundamental farm policy legislation,” Stallman said. “While we don’t yet know what the next steps will be, we will be working with both sides of the aisle and both chambers of Congress to ensure passage of a new fiveyear farm bill.”

The Hoosier Farmer - 41

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