Friday, February 27, 2015

E- verify May Leave YOU Hungry

There is a lot of Hubba-Balloon happening about DHS funding, amnesty for illegal immigrants, and the E-Verify system. 
I state right away that I am all for safe, streamlined and systemic approach to allowing others to enter the USA!  But E- verify is not going to work! WHAT? You may say! 
Yeah, I want safety, but unless reform of the agricultural worker program (H2A) is undertaken then E-verify will put our food supply, jobs and heritage at risk. The simple fact is that most Americans do not want to do the tasks required in agriculture. They view it as below them and they are too good for manual labor whether skilled tasks or not. 

If E-verify goes into effect, upto 60% of the labor used on farms around the country will be delayed in arriving or not be available at all. 

I know this seems extreme, but it is true!  And comes because only 6-7% of the foreign agricultural labor enters the U.S. on an official H2A- seasonal Ag worker visa. The small percentage is a result of difficulty of the system. The expense and layers of governmental agency red tape. The system is very cumbersome. Add to that the lack of understanding of the need by the Dept. Of Labor and it is almost impossible to utilize the system and have it work in a timely manner.  

Some simple facts include:
**50-60% of all farm labor will no longer be available
** increase in food imports 
** food prices will rise approximately 6%
** food production will fall by $30-60 billion 
** increase in already unstable work force
** farms will decrease in profitability
** risk of drastic increase of food waste of planted lands and vast amounts of land will go unplanted 

So I ask, do we want to import workers or import food? Do you want to see a system that respects those that work to provide for others and better themselves  or one that ignores the needs of a business and livelihood sector in which we ALL depend on-- Agriculture ? 

Please let you House and Senate 
representatives know that Ag labor reform is essential and cannot be jeopardized by passing an enforcement only E-verify legislation.  Tell them to fight for a NO vote on The Legal Workforce Act.    

Friday, February 13, 2015

Prairie Mamas to the Rescue

Living in a rural area can be lonely at times. (Especially if you are like me and kinda like to stay home in sweats.) Moving to a small town from a large city can be even lonelier. Being a farmer and living a life and schedule many don't understand or are not familiar with adds an extra layer of difficulty too. It's hard to break through and find those that you connect with well! You know, those you can turn to when you are in the middle of your toughest times, have questions you don't need shared with the rest of the town, and people that you can enlighten with stories of the wild things you saw, did or watched your kids do.  Small towns can be tough. ( I will say that the are some pretty awesome people in my small town.) Sometimes those that we become closest to live the furthest away. 

I have to say, I have some of the best "Prairie Mama" friends from around ND that I could ever expect to find!  They are my rock, my encouragement, and source of humor, but ultimately they are always there reminding me of how amazing faith and God are!  

Faith is something I struggle with. How can the faithful be challenged so often? Why is it that the more I commit to a life with The Lord that I find more questions than answers? How many things can be thrown at me at once and am I really expected to rise above them and come out on top? I get that faith is a journey and that by attending church, listening and working at it it will get easier to hear and follow. But, in all selfishness, I would love for one request via prayer to be answered on my terms. Ok, I know that is part of the learning curve... But throw me a bone, please!  

So, when it comes to struggles and what feels like prayers are falling on deaf ears, I reach out to the "Prairie Mamas". They help fill the gap while waiting for direction from The Lord. It is this that I am utmost grateful. It is this that reinforces the true meaning of friendship. It is this that adds value to all other relationships I have. It's the "Prairie Mamas" that keep me going! 

Thanks Prairie Mamas! I owe you big!