Senator Scott Champions Farmers, Condemns Department of Labor’s Actions Fueling High Grocery Prices, Food Insecurity

WASHINGTON — U.S. Senator Tim Scott (R-S.C.) joined Senator Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) and 15 of their Senate colleagues in introducing the Supporting Farm Operations Act, which freezes the Department of Labor’s (DOL) Adverse Effect Wage Rate (AEWR) and frees H-2A employers from a burdensome Biden administration policy. By lowering spiraling labor costs for farmers, this legislation combats record high food prices and growing food insecurity.

This legislation builds on Senator Scott’s leadership last year to stop the DOL’s AEWR methodology change by leading his Republican colleagues in introducing a resolution of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act (CRA). South Carolina farmers are currently facing AEWR increases of 7%, raising their production costs and grocery costs nationwide. With food prices already up 21% under the Biden administration, Senator Scott is continuing the fight against the DOL’s disastrous policy, which will only exacerbate economic hardship for Americans.

“The Biden administration’s plan to undercut our farmers isn’t just bad for farmers, it’s bad for America,” said Senator Scott. “Folks across our nation are facing higher prices and growing food instability in part because of the Department of Labor’s disastrous policy. It’s important that we support our farmers, secure our food chain, and bring down prices for every American.”

“The H-2A Program is vital to the success of American agriculture and our domestic food supply,” said President Harry Ott, South Carolina Farm Bureau. “Our farmers are facing record-high costs in all aspects of farming. Labor is no exception and our farmers need a short-term solution to stabilize these costs so they can remain in production. Senator Tim Scott understands that farmers need labor to provide us with the food, fuel, and fiber we all rely on.”

The Supporting Farm Operations Act is endorsed by American Farm Bureau Federation, International Fresh Produce Association, American Hort, National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, US Apple, and US Sweet Potato Council. 

The legislation is cosponsored by Senators Ted Budd (R-N.C.), Pete Ricketts (R-Neb.), Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), John Kennedy (R-La.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), and Mike Rounds (R-S.D.).


Since 1987, the DOL’s H-2A visa program has played an essential role in filling gaps in the US farm labor market through the utilization of seasonal labor. Nearly half of H-2A labor is employed by individuals, making affordable wages and a maximization of the H-2A hiring process critical, especially for smaller farms.  

The full text of the Supporting Farm Operations Act can be found here.