Utah Farmer Calls For Changes To Help Immigrant Workers 

Jun 9, 2021, 7:10 PM | Updated: Jun 10, 2021, 3:22 pm

OGDEN, Utah – A Utah farmer warned that unless changes are made to the nation’s laws for immigrant workers it could become difficult to stock our shelves with local produce and dairy.  

Immigrants represent an important part of the American farming workforce, up to 70% of it. 

It’s an issue that Ron Gibson called too politicized and he said a new bill before the Senate needs changes before he can support it. 

The work at his farm, Gibson Green Acres is never finished yet, somehow farmworkers including Noe Lopez keep the place running like a well-oiled machine.  

“In my job I like everything,” said Lopez who’s been at the farm for more than 20 years, he takes a lot of pride in his work. 

“Sometimes it’s stress, sometimes [we] laugh and it’s different any time, every day it’s different,” said Lopez. 

The work of farmhands like Lopez is often done in the shadows.  

“My top people over there that I couldn’t farm without, all of them are immigrants every one of them,” said Gibson.  

According to statistics provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, for every ten farmworkers, seven are immigrants. Five are undocumented meaning they have no legal status.  

Gibson said it’s hard finding anybody else who wants his jobs.   

“It’s been 4 years since I have had anyone apply for that job – from America,” Gibson said.  

It’s why Gibson is frustrated with the political conversations surrounding Immigration.  

“The problem is that immigration has become too politicized and based on party lines,” Gibson said. “This is a matter of whether you’re going to eat or not every day. And I just have a really short fuse of patience with Congress when we can’t deal with these kind of issues in America.” 

A new bipartisan bill, the Farm Workforce Modernization Act of 2021 would give legal status to undocumented workers, increase the number of visas for temporary farmworkers, and mandate a wage increase under the H-2A Temporary Agricultural Program. The program currently requires H-2A employers to pay seasonal farmworkers about $15 per hour in Utah. Additionally, employers are required to cover housing costs and cover transportation expenses including travel to and from their home countries.   

Gibson called the current minimum wage unaffordable and without a fix, he doesn’t support the bill.  

“Food is too cheap in America for us to be able to sustain that,” Gibson said.  

He said the U.S. needs to offer more immigrant farmworker visas. The bill proposed adding 40,000 seasonal farmworker visas, Gibson said that is not enough.  

“I think if we could fix those two things this is a great bill,” Gibson said.  

However, Gibson supported the bill’s initiative to grant legal status to undocumented farmworkers.  

He helped sponsor Lopez in obtaining his permanent residency several years ago when an opportunity opened for farmworkers to apply.  

The Farm Workforce Modernization passed the House back in March and moved on to the Senate.    

“We have a great big family here, and they are an important part of our family, of our farm, and of our country,” Gibson said, “I believe that the people who have been working hard and feeding America for decades should be able to have a green card.  

KSL 5 TV Live

Local News

A Davis County teen is home safe, and a man in jail after police believe the man traveled from Cali...

Lauren Steinbrecher

Teen’s secret signal for help leads to hotel rescue and alleged predator arrest in Davis County

A Davis County teen is home safe, and a man in jail after police believe the man traveled from California upon meeting the boy online, causing the 14-year-old to send a secret signal for help to his family.

2 hours ago

This weekend's Academy Awards show has boosted demand for many of its nominated films. (KSL TV)...

Matt Gephardt and Sloan Schrage

The added cybersecurity risks of watching free streams of Oscar-nominated movies

This weekend's Academy Awards show has boosted demand for many of its nominated films. The continually increasing prices of streaming services – Apple, Amazon Prime, Disney+, Netflix and others raised their costs last October – is pushing many folks to look for ways to watch these films for free. But cybersecurity experts warn searching for free streams can get way more costly.

3 hours ago

Dusk on the last day of the 2024 legislative session at the Utah Capitol in Salt Lake City on Frida...

Daniel Woodruff

‘This is a disgrace’: Bitter fight over district attorney’s job performance marks end of Utah legislative session

The Utah legislative session ended on a fiery note as lawmakers approved a bill that critics say unfairly targets an elected official.

3 hours ago

Members of the Stansbury Park community came together Saturday night to help a pair of stranded far...

Shelby Lofton

Stansbury Park store employees, locals rally together to help stranded farmers

The Tooele County community came to the rescue of a couple of strangers Saturday night.

6 hours ago

Utah State GOP Chair Robert Axson expects turnout to be north of 100,000 people statewide for Super...

Lindsay Aerts

Utah Republicans ‘confident’ for caucus night Super Tuesday

Utahns are heading out Tuesday to cast their votes for who they want for President during Super Tuesday. 

6 hours ago

Eagle Mountain homes still cleaning up tumbleweeds, days after the windstorm covered homes....

Garna Mejia

Eagle Mountain residents are still digging themselves out of tumbleweeds

Eagle Mountain residents are still cleaning up thousands of tumbleweeds that blew on their doorsteps during the weekend storm.

6 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Users display warnings about the use of artificial intelligence (AI), access to malicious software ...

Les Olson

How to Stay Safe from Cybersecurity Threats

Read our tips for reading for how to respond to rising cybersecurity threats in 2023 and beyond to keep yourself and your company safe.

Utah Farmer Calls For Changes To Help Immigrant Workers