Frank Gasperini, the executive vice president of the Vienna, Va.-based council, said the agriculture sector should face some challenges when the Obama administration enforces its new health care rules.
“When 2014 comes and we have Obamacare in place, the federal government and regulatory agencies will have a collective ‘ah’ and will say, ‘OK, there are some things we need to fix now,’” he said. “It will take some time to round off the rough edges and find industries like agriculture in the bill that doesn’t fit very well and say they have to accommodate the outliers.”
Gasperini said agriculture’s seasonal workforce doesn’t fit with the new health care rules.
“The bottom line is it’s not going to be easy for you as employers as it’s an added expense and one size doesn’t fit all,” he said.
Bryan Tolar, president of the Georgia Agribusiness Council, Commerce, discussed Georgia and Washington, D.C., immigration reform efforts.
“Like the Eagles’ ‘Hotel California’ song, E-Verify is ‘you come in but you can never leave’,” Tolar said. “Once you get in the trap, you can’t get out. As the attorney general investigates companies and whether they’ve signed up, and should have signed up, if they determine your business should have signed up and you in fact did not, you get 30 days to sign up.”
Charles Hall, executive director of the Georgia growers association, said the show drew record attendance of just below 3,000, up from last year’s 2,700.