PBS and NPR for Southwest Florida
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Rep. Diaz-Balart In LaBelle To Discuss Farm Workforce Legislation

United States Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-25)

Republican United States congressman Mario Diaz-Balart was in LaBelle Tuesday to meet with people in the agriculture industry about a bill he is sponsoring.


The Farm Workforce Modernization Act, is a bipartisan effort that aims to reform the current visa program which allows farm owners to employ foreign workers.

Diaz-Balart said the legislation was long over-due.

"It's becoming a crisis, they [farm owners] cannot get the people that are needed to work in our AG industry," Diaz-Balart said.

Diaz Balart said both democrats and republicans in congress agree that there needs to be a cost-effective way to secure a steady workforce.

"The system as it currently stands is dysfunctional, and so this [bill] would modernize that system," Diaz-Balart said. "Make it [H-2A Visa program] quicker, faster, less expensive while dealing with—in a very fair way—The AG workers and also interior security so that we have a legal workforce." 

Diaz Balart said the bill has the support of over 300 farm groups across the country and believes it will be heard on the floor of the House.

Andrea Perdomo is a reporter for WGCU News. She started her career in public radio as an intern for the Miami-based NPR station, WLRN. Andrea graduated from Florida International University, where she was a contributing writer for the student-run newspaper, The Panther Press, and was also a member of the university's Society of Professional Journalists chapter.