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WASHINGTON—Senators Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), and Thom Tillis (R-North Carolina) with several colleagues introduced the Supporting Farm Operations Act of 2024, which would revert the Adverse Effect Wage Rate (AEWR) to the December 2023 rate through the end of the 2025 growing season.

An increased AEWR went into effect on January 1, 2024.  Nationally, the rate increased by 5.6 percent, and the rate in Idaho increased by five percent, from $15.68 per hour to $16.54 per hour.  

“The Biden administration has driven agricultural operating costs sky-high with its extreme environmental and regulatory agenda,” said Risch. “Rapidly increasing wage rates, dictated by unrealistic policy, only make this problem worse. The Supporting Farm Operations Act of 2024 will provide relief by temporarily reducing the AEWR rate. While this will provide Idahoans with some reprieve, we must continue to push for an agricultural labor fix and stop the administration’s regulatory attack on farmers and ranchers.”

“The flawed methodology of the AEWR wage system has led to a 40 percent increase in Idaho since 2015,” said Crapo. “Added on top of this Administration’s never-ending federal agriculture-related regulation, unsustainable increases to AEWR is causing more headaches and more stress for those working to get food on our tables. These challenges are especially harmful to small and family-owned farming operations in Idaho, and continued increases threaten our overall national food security.” 

“Our members thank Senator Crapo and all the bill’s co-sponsors for bringing this legislation forward at such an important time,” said Bryan Searle, Idaho Farm Bureau Federation President. “Idaho farmers and ranchers that participate in the H-2A visa program have been hit hard by drastic increases to the AEWR over the past several years. These wage rates do not reflect accurate market conditions and are negatively impacting producers’ ability to produce safe and affordable food.  Idaho Farm Bureau Federation thanks Sen. Crapo for his consistent efforts to find solutions for agricultural guestworker reform to ensure that Idaho and American farmers and ranchers can continue to steward the land and produce this nation’s food.” 

Original co-sponsors of the bill include Senators Ted Budd (R-N.C.), Pete Ricketts (R-Neb.), Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), John Kennedy (R-La.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Mike Rounds (R-S.D.).

The Supporting Farm Operations Act of 2024 is supported by the American Farm Bureau Federation.