Representative Daniel Bonham said that the process sloppy and a blow to farmers

Jefferson County farmers are tackling so many issues at this point, the passage of the farmworker overtime bill just seems like another barrier in an already tough obstacle course.

Farmers expect even less water this year than last year, the worse water year on record. Growers have trouble finding chemicals and fertilizers and what they do find costs far more than in past years.

“It’s just one more regulation piled on the troubles they’re already facing,” says Kevin Richards of Fox Hollow Ranch in Madras.

Richards says it helps that the impact of the overtime requirement phases in with tax credits to farmers that step down between 2023 and 2028.

“My bigger concern is for farm workers,” says Richards. “I think in the long run it will hurt farm workers. Their hours will be limited, and their income will be reduced.”

That’s how farmer Vern Bare plans to avoid paying overtime. “We’ll hire more people, if that’s the way they want to play the game.”

Bare says workers haven’t complained to him about their pay. “If we feel it’s warranted, we’ll give them a raise.”

Given the water outlook, other than the winter wheat he planted in the fall, Bare doesn’t plan to plant anything more this summer, making overtime pay a moot point. “I don’t think it’s going to impact us that much this year because we’re not going to be farming much.”

Rep. Daniel Bonham (R-The Dalles) represents Jefferson County. He fought against House Bill 4002.

“The process was sloppy, and the outcome was predetermined before the start of session,” said Bonham. “The proponents have not only dealt the agriculture industry a serious blow, but they made a false promise to agricultural workers — that they will see benefits from its passage.”

You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.