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‘Rotting Crops’ Show Need for Immigration Changes, Vilsack Says

Feb. 23 (Bloomberg) -- Changes in immigration laws are needed to ensure adequate levels of farm labor and prevent crops from “rotting” in fields, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said.

“The sad reality is that crops will be raised in this country this year that may not be harvested because there simply is not the workforce,” Vilsack said today at a conference in Arlington, Virginia. “All of America, but especially farm country, needs comprehensive immigration reform, and we need it now.”

Vilsack called on Congress to have the “political courage” to fix the system, which he said leaves farmers with too few workers for the amount of acreage to be harvested.

“There’s a risk of rotting crops, and with that risk, there’s no excuse for the efforts of some seeking to demonize immigrant labor or prevent meaningful reform of a system that everyone in the Congress and in the country admits is not functioning.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Joe Richter in New York at jrichter1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steve Stroth at sstroth@bloomberg.net

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