Newhouse Addresses National Potato Council, Urges Senate Action on Ag Labor Reform

February 25, 2020
Press Release
Speech follows announcement of expanded potato access in China

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-WA) addressed potato growers from Central Washington and across the country at the National Potato Council’s 2020 Potato D.C. Fly-In. They discussed H.R. 5038, the Farm Workforce Modernization Act, and the importance of meaningful agriculture labor reform.

“Potato growers in Washington understand the importance of having access to a stable and legal workforce,” said Rep. Newhouse. “With increased exports to China, our growers will happily increase production, but we have to make sure there is labor available when they need it. We have to make our H-2A program more accessible to farmers and ranchers across the country, and I urge the Senate to seize this momentum to support lasting reforms and address our labor shortage crisis.”

This speaking engagement follows an announcement by the Administration that will significantly benefit the Washington potato industry. Earlier today, U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer announced the partial implementation of a Phase One deal with China, which includes imports of U.S. fresh chipping potatoes. 

This new market access will initially be worth an estimated $20 million per year and is effective immediately. Three states approved to export chipping potatoes to China are Idaho, Oregon, and Washington.

Rep. Newhouse will speak at a press conference to urge Senate action on the bipartisan Farm Workforce Modernization Act.

Rep. Newhouse will join potato growers from across the country and industry partners to call on Senators to begin the chamber’s process of drafting and enacting long-term labor solutions that support the health of American agriculture and its workers.

WHO:    Britt Raybould, President, National Potato Council

                RJ Andrus, Vice President of Legislative Affairs, National Potato Council

                Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID)

                Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA)

                Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-WA)

                Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL)

                Rep. Doug LaMalfa (R-CA)

                Jim Bair, President and CEO, U.S. Apple Association

WHEN: Wednesday, February 26 from 1:00PM – 1:45PM EST

This event will also be streamed live here.