U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary and NY-19 Agricultural Advisory Committee Meet at SUNY Cobleskill to Discuss Farm Workforce Modernization Act

SUNY Cobleskill was proud to host distinguished guests on campus July 16, including U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, U.S. Representative Antonio Delgado, and members of the NY-19 Agriculture Advisory Committee members for a discussion of the Farm Workforce Modernization Act.  

At the meeting, elected officials and committee members heard directly from producers on the critical topics of rebuilding rural infrastructure, supporting new farmers, removing barriers to entry, and growing the dairy economy. 

The Farm Workforce Modernization Act aims to provide stability and predictability to the nation’s critically important agriculture sector by reforming the H-2A agricultural guestworker program and introducing a merit-based visa program. The program would ensure farmworkers have safe working conditions, access to fair compensation, healthcare, and housing, and a path to citizenship. 

“SUNY Cobleskill remains at the forefront of these important discussions through our initiatives working with the regional and local community via The Institute for Rural Vitality and through our agricultural programming and education. Regional colleges are the anchor of economic development, and we look forward to continuing to support our community through our network of lifetime learners,” said Dr. Marion Terenzio, President, SUNY Cobleskill. 

Also participating in the roundtable were leaders from the New York Farm Bureau, United Farm Workers, Office of the New York Commissioner of Agriculture, New York State Vegetable Growers Association, Northeast Dairy Producers, and upstate farmworkers.  

As of this visit, the Farm Workforce Modernization Act has passed the House of Representatives with bipartisan support. It has yet to reach the Senate for a vote.