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Angus Productions Inc.
Copyright © 2009
Angus Productions Inc.

Immigration and Hurricane Disaster Discussed in Committee


PHOENIX, Ariz. (Jan. 30, 2009) — Immigration reform was one of the topics discussed by guest speakers invited to address members of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) Agricultural Policy Committee Meeting during the 2009 Cattle Industry Annual Convention. Delivering a report from the Agriculture Coalition for Immigration Reform was the coalition co-chairman Craig Regelbrugge of the American Nursery and Landscape Association.

Craig RegelbruggeCraig Regelbrugge


“Immigration reform is an issue that pulls together all interests that depend on large numbers of workers,” Regelbrugge said, explaining how the coalition is comprised of organizations representing a variety of agricultural and agriculture-related industries.

“And, it’s not just a regional issue,” he added. “It’s a border-to-border, coast-to-coast crisis. The ag sector is deeply, deeply at risk.”

Regelbrugge said that in many situations there are few if any domestic applicants for laborious jobs.Some companies rely on workforces that may consist of as much as 99% immigrant laborers. Seventy-five percent of those may be “unauthorized” — illegal workers in the U.S. Regelbrugge said coalition organizations generally favor measures to curb illegal entry, but also want ways for current undocumented workers to earn the right to remain in the U.S.

“Agriculture can make the best case for immigration reform in the current economic environment,” Regelbrugge stated. “We can look President Obama in the eye and say the need for labor is steady. It will be the same tomorrow as it is today, but few Americans are lining up for the jobs we offer. If we don’t solve this problem, we stand to lose U.S. agricultural productivity.”


Insult to injury
Also brought before the Agricultural Policy Committee was an appeal made on behalf of Gulf-state cattle producers. Committee member Daniel Lyons and fellow-Louisiana cattleman Bob Felknor expressed concern that cattle operations victimized by hurricanes may now be victims of unfair government actions. Lyons and Felknor said producers who applied, were approved and received indemnity payments following severe losses to hurricanes Katrina and Rita are now being subjected to government investigation.

Daniel Lyons and Bob FelknorDaniel Lyons and Bob Felknor

“Having Washington bureaucrats try to investigate these producers three to four years afterward, and asking for evidence that was washed away in the storms is ludicrous. Even so, some producers are being order to return the payments they received, with interest,” Felknor said.


Lyons proposed a resolution calling for USDA to cease its current investigation and determine that any future investigations of losses due to natural disasters be conducted by appropriate state and county personnel with appropriate knowledge of the cattle industry in the affected region. The resolution was advanced by committee for approval by NCBA membership.

Editor’s Note: This article was written under contract or by staff of Angus Productions Inc. (API), which claims copyright to this article. It may not be published or distributed without the express permission of Angus Productions Inc. To request reprint permission and guidelines, contact Shauna Rose Hermel, editor, at (816) 383-5270.