By JAVIER MANJARRESDuring his tenure as a U.S. Congressman, Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam said that he and his colleagues in the Congress tried to bring immigration reform to the forefront, but were “never able to bring it in for a landing”
Commissioner Putnam outlines that the agriculture and hospitality labor forces have suffered drastic shortages in the labor market, and that it is difficult to find someone to pick agriculture when the unemployment rate was 4% and then when it was at 10-11%. So according to Putnam, regardless of the state of the economy, it hard to find adequate labor to fill the demand in the agriculture jobs sector.
Putnam also adds that a temporary guest worker program is crucial to Florida’s economy because he believes that once you lose agriculture labor to overseas competition, “its never coming back.” Putnam also fears that if that were to happen, the U.S. would be in a position of being dependent on Central America for our produce, as we are dependent on the Middle East for petroleum.
Its a food security, national security issue to be able to produce our own food and fiber.-Florida AG Commissioner, Adam Putnam
Putnam believes that citizenship and amnesty do not have to part of the overall equation to a guest worker program that meets the U.S. labor needs.
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