Challenging capitalism is one of the National Young Farmers Coalition’s Guiding Principles. Capitalism favors profit and wealth accumulation over community needs and the social good, perpetuating consolidation, wealth inequality, and labor exploitation in food and agriculture. Despite contributing to our society in such a tremendous and essential way—a fact made obvious to everyone living through the pandemic—farm and food system workers face harsh working conditions, and many live in fear of the various hazards and challenges that surround them. Our mission of building a brighter, just future for agriculture is only possible when we work in solidarity to address these critical issues.
All workers in the U.S. deserve full labor protections, especially farmworkers and immigrant workers. No one in their workplace should ever feel powerless, not know their rights, or have someone else infringe upon them. Further, supporting the transition of immigrants, farmworkers, and food systems workers to farm ownership and other agricultural roles will make our agricultural system resilient and diversified.
- Congress and the Administration must work together to develop and enact comprehensive agricultural labor reform, as well as immigration reform that includes a path to citizenship for undocumented farmworkers, food chain workers, and their families. Such reforms should also include improved labor protections for all farm and food workers, and more effective reporting and enforcement standards regarding violations of labor and human rights.
- One outcome of the USDA Equity Commission should be a thorough review of citizenship and tax identification requirements for participation in USDA programs. There is currently widely inconsistent application of such requirements at the Department. Applicants or beneficiaries of USDA programs should be able to use any tax identification number recognized by the Internal Revenue Service in lieu of citizenship based eligibility requirements. Regardless of citizenship status, farmers and farmworkers should be able to benefit from resources through the People’s Department.