NWIAA's Immigration & Agriculture Initiative

Dr. Steele's Leadership Expands Her Platform

Immigration makes up a significant percentage of the agricultural industry. According to New American Economy, "As recently as 2019, almost half—or 48.9 percent—of all agricultural workers were foreign-born and more than one-fourth (27.3 percent) were undocumented. ... In 2019, almost 57 percent of crop production workers were immigrants, including 36.4 percent who were undocumented." 

Minorities, including immigrants, play a major role in the daily operations of the agricultural industry. With that being said, there are no existing minority owned charters recognized by the U.S. Government to receive sustainable grants to fund minority charters across the country. Click the link below to learn more about immigration and the agricultural industry.

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Agriculture & Immigration CEO's Merge

Dr. Tammy Gray-Steele and Ada'Zane Williams have joined forces to merge the conversation of agriculture & immigration in the U.S. They have established powerful alliances and congressional support including minority-women farmers across America to demand fair funding for minority farmers and immigrants. Smart Pathways LLC. is an immigration based company that provides immigration specialist training for every industry including immigration application services at an affordable rate for companies and immigrants.

H-2AImmigration Application by State

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How Does Immigration Affect Agriculture?

Many immigrants start their career in the agriculture industry before moving to other sectors because farming is so labor intensive. Because of these fluctuations, farmers are hot the hardest when there are decreased border crossings and migrant labor shortages. 

According to Farm Bureau,:

  • Agriculture needs anywhere from 1.5 -2 million hired workers.

  • Labor costs account for 48 percent of the variable production costs for fresh fruits and 35 percent of variable costs for fresh vegetables.

  • The current labor situation is most acute for delicate berries and easily bruised produce. Harvesting costs for strawberries, blackberries and cherries account for about 60% to 66% of total production costs, making labor the primary harvest expense. People are needed to judge which fruit are ready to be picked and which need to be left to ripen.

  • Many migrants who begin their careers as farm laborers move onto other sectors of the economy or less demanding positions after several years. This progression leads to farmers often being the first to bear the negative economic impacts of decreased border crossings and migrant labor shortages.

  • At least 50-70 percent of farm laborers in the country today are unauthorized. Few U.S. workers are willing to fill available farm labor jobs. 

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