Agricultural conference discusses need for temporary worker prog

Agricultural conference discusses need for temporary worker program


YUMA, AZ.- Designing a better temporary worker program along the border was the forefront of discussion Thursday afternoon.

It was a crowded house at a conference held at the Radisson Hotel in Yuma by ImmigrationWorks USA.

Some of those in attendance were growers, farm labor contractors, state agriculture officials,  lawmakers and lobbyists.

The issue at hand is providing avenues for foreigners to enter the country and work legally.

Even with our high unemployment rate finding people willing to work in the field remains a challenge.

Lynne Pancrazzi, who represents District 24 at the Arizona State Legislature, says her colleagues make a trip to the border every 2 years to see what it's like to be a farmworker.

She says those trips aren't done often enough but they have definitely helped, "I am getting less and less questions of 'well you have a 31% unemployment rate, why do you need commutal workers?' I'm getting less and less of those kinds of questions. 'You have prisoners why cant they do the job?' I'm getting less and less of those questions because this community, this agricultural community has worked very hard to make sure the metropolitan legislatures and legislatures from other parts of Arizona understand the agriculture needs down here in Yuma and along the border."

Rep. Pancrazzi went on to say that getting politicians to understand the need is huge.

Many other topics were discussed as well.

The Yuma Fresh Vegetable Association and the Arizona Farm Bureau cosponsored the 5 hour event.

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