“Probably the most vivid case was the state of Georgia where they implemented mandatory E-Verify. Particularly last summer, when they were dealing with implementation of the law, there were a lot of problems with being able to keep an adequate work force in the field. Produce literally rotted in the field because there just weren’t enough workers to harvest it.”

“In the Southeast we have heard quite a bit from our members. This has been a real concern with significant ramifications in terms of their ability to get their products to market.”

Can E-Verify and H-2A be fixed or is an entirely new approach needed?

“What we’ve said while working at the state level and on Capitol Hill is that there needs to be a viable workable guest worker program. Whether or not H-2A can be fixed to address all the needs, would be a pretty tall order.

“H-2A does work for some of our members. But we’ve also had a lot of comments from other members that H-2A won’t allow them to get needed workers when they need them. So, fixing H-2A fully to meet everyone’s needs across the industry would be (difficult).”

The constantly-asked question: Why not just hire Americans?

“That’s one of the biggest areas where we’ve had to educate folks on Capitol Hill who don’t work in agriculture. … Basically, just hiring Americans isn’t that simple. We’ve found that repeatedly.