Senator Scott Urges Senate Leadership to Relieve American Farmers

WASHINGTON — In his latest effort to help American farmers and lower prices for American families, U.S. Senator Tim Scott (R-S.C.) joined 15 of his Senate colleagues in sending a letter to Senate leadership urging them to use the earliest possible legislative vehicle to temporarily freeze the Adverse Effect Wage Rate (AEWR). The recent AEWR increases are unsustainable for many farms across the country and have added significantly to their already high input costs. These higher costs will ultimately be felt downstream at the grocery store by American families who continue to struggle with high inflation.

“The increasing cost of labor for agriculture producers is unsustainable.  According to the American Farm Bureau Federation, the national average AEWR will be $17.55 this year,” the senators wrote. “That represents an increase of 5.6 percent from 2023, the third year in a row the AEWR increased by over five percent.  In fact, the national average AEWR has more than doubled since 2005.  This is compounded by the increased costs of inputs like energy and fertilizer, other guest worker expenses such as housing and transportation, and forthcoming expenses imposed by new regulations and fees.”

“If costs continue to increase as they have, the pressure put on America’s food producers will fundamentally shift the food production model that has allowed us to be agriculturally independent and secure,” the senators continued. “In order to support our farmers and ranchers and feed families across the country, we must act now.”

The letter was led by Senator Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), and Senators Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Pete Ricketts (R-Neb.), Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Todd Young (R-Ind.), Ted Budd (R-N.C.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), and John Hoeven (R-N.D.) also signed the letter. Full text of the letter can be found here.  


Senator Scott has long pressed the Department of Labor (DOL) to rescind its misguided AEWR regulations, lower spiraling labor costs for farmers, and combat record-high food prices. South Carolina farmers are currently facing AEWR increases of 7%, raising their production costs and grocery costs nationwide. Notably, food prices are up 21% under the Biden administration.

Earlier this month, Senator Scott championed the Supporting Farm Operations Act, which freezes the AEWR to the December 2023 rate through the end of the 2025 growing season and frees H-2A employers from the Biden administration’s burdensome AEWR methodology policy, which was first proposed by DOL in 2023.

Last year, Senator Scott led his Republican colleagues in similar efforts to stop the DOL’s AEWR methodology change by introducing a resolution of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act (CRA).