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Moolenaar introduces legislation to support Michigan farmers

Congressman John Moolenaar introduced the Supporting Farm Operations Act (H.R. 7046), which will address the high labor costs facing Michigan farmers. The bill would freeze the wage rate for migrant farm workers, known as the Adverse Effect Wage Rate (AEWR) at the level that was established in 2023 until end of 2025. The wage requirements set for these employees are determined by the Department of Labor.

“Michigan farmers grow and raise food for Michigan residents and people around the world. My legislation ensures they will continue to have a reliable workforce and can make ends meet while growing the food we need. I am proud to introduce the Supporting Farm Operations Act and will continue my work to advocate for the more than 11,000 farmers living in Michigan’s Second District,” said Moolenaar.

"Michigan farmers who rely on seasonal guest workers need a stable and predictable wage structure to be able to keep supplying consumers with a safe and afford food supply that’s grown on our soil. We applaud Congressman Moolenaar and his colleagues for introducing commonsense legislation that allows for a pause while Congress comes up with a long-term solution. Michigan farmers are counting on Congress to act swiftly and provide some much needed relief," said John Kran, National Legislative Counsel of the Michigan Farm Bureau.

“Rep. Moolenaar’s bill offers the short-term stability and reforms that today’s challenges require,” said American Farm Bureau Federation Director of Government Affairs John Walt Boatright. “It’s a step in the right direction to creating a wage standard that benefits farmers and employees alike. Along with this effort, AFBF will continue to press Congress on the full reforms that deliver certainty and parity to farmers who produce food for America’s families.”

“This bill will help provide farmers, ranchers and growers utilizing the H-2A visa program with needed wage certainty and stability as they head into planting season. It is also important to note that it would clarify how primary job duties are determined and would more accurately reflect the realities of on-farm work, where pitching in on multiple tasks as needed is often the norm,” said Chuck Conner, President and CEO of the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives. “I would like to thank Congressman Moolenaar and Congressman Newhouse for their leadership on this issue. We look forward to working with him and other members on next steps on needed modernization and reform to the H-2A program and the stabilization of the existing agricultural workforce.” 

“Out-of-control labor costs are already dampening domestic fresh produce production, so we know that additional increases would have a devastating impact on the entire supply chain," said Cathy Burns, CEO of the International Fresh Produce Association. "Congressman’s Moolenaar’s common-sense legislation freezes AEWR increases for two years, giving immediate relief and enough certainty for our industry to perform while Congress works on broader reforms that will bring stability to our labor force and long-term food security for our nation.”

"On behalf of our growers across the nation, the U.S. Apple Association thanks Representative Moolenaar for understanding their predicament and taking this action. We call on all Members of Congress to support this effort. Bringing stability and common sense to the H-2A program will be the only way family farms can keep pace with the costs and regulatory burdens they face in producing America' s favorite fruit,” said Jim Bair, President & CEO of the U.S. Apple Association.

On January 1, 2024 the Department of Labor increased Michigan’s AEWR for the tenth consecutive year, to $18.50 per hour, an increase of $1.16 per hour from December 2023. This rate is the fourth highest in the nation.

Original cosponsors of Moolenaar's legislation are Representatives Dan Newhouse (R-WA), Frank Lucas (R-OK), Bill Huizenga (R-MI), Jack Bergman (R-MI), Lisa McClain (R-MI), and Tim Walberg (R-MI). The text of the Supporting Farm Operations Act can be found here.

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Local High School Schedule & Scores

CSAA Baseball

District 37 @Big Rapids HS

  - 5/28: Ludington 5 @ Newaygo 4

  - 6/1:

     10a: Ludington @ Fremont

     12n: Whitehall @ Big Rapids

     District Final: Whitehall/Big Rapids @ Fremont/Ludington

District 39 @Comstock Pk HS

  - 5/28: Sparta 5 @ Grant 1

  - 6/1:

     10a: Sparta @ Belding

     12n: Comstock Park @ Tri County

     District Final: Sparta/Belding @ Comstock Park/Tri County

District 70 @Evart

  - 5/28: Pine River 8 @ Harrison 4

  - 6/1:

     10a: Pine River @ Evart

     12n: McBain @ Reed City

     District Final: Pine River/Evart @ McBain/Reed City

District 72 @ Montague

  - 6/1:

     10a: Montague @ Ravenna

     12n: N Muskegon @ Kent City

     District Final: Montague/Ravenna @ N Muskegon/Kent City

District 74 @ Chip Hills

  - 5/28: Clare 15 @ Farwell 0

  - 6/1:

     10a: Clare @ Lakeview

     12n: Chip Hills @ Morley Stanwood

     District Final: Clare/Lakeview @ Chip Hills/Morley Stanwood

District 77 @Pewamo-Westphalia HS

  - 5/28: C Montcalm 4 @ Ovid-Elsie 3

  - 6/1:

     10a: C Montcalm @ St Louis

     12n: Pewamo-Westphalia @ Ithaca

     District Final: C Montcalm/St Louis @ Pewamo-Westphalia/Ithaca

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CSAA Softball

District 37 @Shepherd HS

  - 5/29: Big Rapids 2 @ Freeland 3

  - 6/1:

     10a: Freeland @ Swan Valley

     12n: Shepherd @ Alma

     District Final: Big Rapids/Freeland/Swan Valley @ Shepherd/Alma

District 38 @Newaygo HS

  - 6/1:

     10a: Tri County @ Newaygo

     12n: Sparta @ Fremont

     District Final: Tri County/Newaygo @ Sparta/Fremont

District 72 @Chip Hills HS

  - 5/28: Chip Hills 10 @ Morley Stanwood 11

  - 6/1:

     10a: Morley Stanwood @ Lakeview

     12n: Evart @ Reed City

     District Final: Morley Stanwood/Lakeview @ Evart/Reed City

District 73 @Montague HS

  - 5/28: Grant 1 @ Kent City 7

  - 6/1:

     10a: Kent City @ Montague

     12n: N Muskegon @ Ravenna

     District Final: Kent City/Montague @ N Muskegon/Ravenna

District 95 @Bullock Creek

  - 5/29: Ithaca @ St Louis

  - 6/1:

     10a: Ithaca/St Louis @ Bullock Creek

     12n: C Montcalm @ Hemlock

     District Final: Ithaca/St Louis/Bullock Creek @ C Montcalm/Hemlock

District 108 @ Marion

  - 5/28: Pentwater 8 @ Mason County Eastern 4

  - 6/1:

     10a: Pentwater @ White Cloud

     12n: Marion @ Holton

     District Final: Pentwater/White Cloud @ Marion/Holton

 

CSAA Softball Standings

1.) Big Rapids: 16-0

2.) Reed City: 16-2

3.) Newaygo: 11-3

4.) Kent City: 9-6

5.) Central Montcalm: 7-5

6.) Grant: 6-8

7.) Morley Stanwood: 4-7

8.) White Cloud: 3-11

9.) Lakeview: 2-12

10.) Chip Hills: 0-10

11.) Tri County: 0-10

(from available data)

CSAA Baseball Standings

1) Big Rapids: 17-1 | +172 -42 (+130)

2) Chippewa Hills: 11-5 | +91 -57 (+34)

3) Grant: 12-6 | 107 -57 (+50)

4) Newaygo: 12-6 | +104 -65 (+39)

5) Central Montcalm: 10-6 | +109 -71 (+38)

6) Reed City: 11-7 | +125 -81 (+44)

7) White Cloud: 8-10 | +79 -117 (-38)

8) Morley Stanwood: 6-12 | +57 -117 (-60)

9) Kent City: 5-13 | +86 -144 (-58)

10) Tri County: 4-14 | +89 -147 (-58)

11) Lakeview: 0-16 | +60 -181 (-121)

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