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Tenn. Farmers to Washington: Make immigration reform a top priority


COLUMBIA, Tenn. (OSBORNE)  --  The Tennessee Farm Bureau has a blunt message for Congress and the president: Fix the nation’s immigration policy and do it now.


Farm Bureau spokesman Lee Maddox says the state’s farmers are having trouble finding laborers willing to help with the harvest.


He’s says farmers would prefer to hire citizens, but few seem interested. Maddox says using immigrant labor to work the fields is the only remaining option.


“You know, the bottom line, if we don’t support and try to reform our immigration policies our farmers are going to go out of business.”


Maddox says if that happens we’ll be reliant on imports for most of our food. At that point he believes food production becomes a matter of national security.


“We’re optimistic that Congress gets that… and they’re hopefully going to do the right things to help protect and promote our agricultural industry in Tennessee and across America.”


Maddox says the Farm Bureau is also optimistic that President Trump and Congress will reduce the regulatory burden on farmers.


“The requirements that farmers face through The Clean Water Act, the Endangered Species Act, the federal Insecticide Act, the Food Safety Modernization Act; those are just a few that continue to bog down the way our farmers try to farm.”


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