U.S. Representative Greg Steube of Florida recently introduced the Keep Food Local and Affordable Act to combat the recent rise in food prices due to historic labor shortages and inflation. This legislation would implement a temporary stay on the H-2A adverse effect wage rate (AEWR) for states struggling to find domestic workers.
The H-2A program allows temporary foreign workers in the U.S.; most Florida citrus is harvested by H-2A workers.
“Inflation has risen rapidly over the past year, increasing food and labor costs for Americans and farmers,” Steube said. “The temporary stay placed on the H-2A AEWR will help address the rising input costs crippling our farmers and consumers.”
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, food prices increased 4.6% from September 2020 to September 2021. Americans have also seen their fuel prices rise by as much as 100%, and producers have seen their fertilizer prices increase by roughly 60% in Florida. Due to widespread inflation, the 2022 AEWR is expected to rise significantly.
“At a time when the Florida citrus industry is already seeing record high production costs and finding it increasingly difficult to find domestic labor, a significant increase in the AEWR would be devastating,” said Mike Sparks, executive vice president and CEO of Florida Citrus Mutual. “The Keep Food Local & Affordable Act provides a mechanism to ensure that growers are able to continue providing a healthy, delicious product right here at home.”
“The Keep Food Local and Affordable Act is a targeted response to immediate concerns regarding inflation and rising food costs,” said American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall. “It provides temporary AEWR relief to farmers while Congress continues to work toward a long-term solution to …..
Learn more about the Keep Food Local & Affordable Act Introduced on the Citrus Industry website.