Farmworkers face the greatest risk of adverse health effects from exposure to pesticides, says a report released today by the nonprofit Organic Center, which studies the environmental and health effects of organic food and farming.
For the second time this summer, House Republican leaders backed creation of a new agricultural guest worker program, this time a three-year H-2C visa available for fish farms, dairy producers and meatpackers as well as crop farmers. Rep. Dan Newhouse of Washington state applauded Speaker Paul Ryan and Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy "for their commitment to bring this to the floor" but the bill was not on the agenda for House action before the August recess.
House Republican leaders promised a vote this month on creating a new agricultural guestworker program. But it now appears that vote may be delayed, in part due to inter-party squabbling over more comprehensive immigration reform.
The chairmen of the House Judiciary and Homeland Security committees unveiled an immigration bill on Tuesday that “addresses the four pillars for immigration reform outlined by President Trump.” Unlike an earlier version, though, it does not create a new, year-round H-2C visa for farmworkers.
House Republican leaders say they will call votes next week on two immigration bills dealing with so-called Dreamers. The bill favored by conservatives would create, as a sidelight, a new, year-round H-2C visa program for farmworkers.
With immigration legislation stalled in Congress, four members of President Trump’s cabinet said on Thursday that they will modernize the H-2A guestworker program for agricultural labor.
Acceding to demands by conservatives, the House will take up the restrictive Goodlatte-McCaul immigration bill during the third week of June and then follow that with a new vote on the farm bill, said Majority Whip Steve Scalise on Monday.
The U.S. House might not vote on an immigration bill this year in large part due to opposition from California farmers, reports McClatchy. Growers say harsh provisions in the bill would gut the state's agricultural work force, so they are working with powerful lawmakers, such as Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, to keep such a package from going to a floor vote.
Future Ag Management, a farm labor contractor in Soledad, California, will be fined over $168,000 for failing to provide farmworkers with appropriate housing conditions. The fine will be levied by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division.
Syngenta announced this week that it will pay $550,000 in fines after the Environmental Protection Agency found that it misused the pesticide chlorpyrifos at a test field in Hawaii. The fine is dramatically lower than the nearly $5 million initially sought by the Obama administration. Scott Pruitt, Trump's EPA chief, overruled a recommendation by agency scientists to ban chlorpyrifos for agricultural use.