USDA boss pushes for immigration reform

Matt Kelley, Nebraska Radio Network

July 29, 2013

Nebraska has the fourth largest agricultural economy in the country, but U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack says the ag industries in the state and nation will suffer if Congress fails to enact some sort of immigration reform.

“If you know what I know about the impact of the immigrant workforce on agriculture, you recognize that this is something that needs to get done,” Vilsack says. “We have had crops not harvested, crops not raised and crops actually leaving the United States and being grown elsewhere because we have a broken immigration system.”

Vilsack says America’s ag industry has kept food prices low, in part, with cheap immigrant labor. A recent survey found 77% of all agricultural workers in the U-S were born in another country.

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