Labor Study Shows Impacts of Immigration Reform on Ag Economy

Farm Bureau study finds up to 6% food price increase with immigration plan focused solely on enforcement

Published on: Feb 11, 2014

Under that scenario, AFBF adds, there would be little to no effect on food prices, and the impact on farm income would be less than 1%.

"Status quo is not a viable option for anyone involved in this issue, and as a nation, we expect better," Stallman says. "With a reworked guest worker program, and by allowing skilled laborers to earn an adjustment of status, food prices remain stable and there are only marginal impacts on production."

Stallman last week reiterated those concerns in an op-ed for The Hill, noting, "For all of us worried about securing our borders, one of the best ways to improve border security is to create a legal, workable way for farm workers to enter our country. 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.

"Although the specific labor needs of farmers across our nation vary, we will all benefit from agricultural labor reform. We need a solution that addresses agriculture’s unique labor needs with a market-based, flexible agricultural worker program, which reflects real-life workforce challenges for all crop and livestock farmers."

The immigration study also compared changes in farm output, commodity prices, farm income, farm asset values, and food prices across four generic reform alternatives. Download it from the AFBF Website: Gauging the Farm Sector's Sensitivity to Immigration Reform.