New Ag Labor Bill Touted

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest By Chris ClaytonDTN Ag Policy EditorOMAHA (DTN) — With the support of both farm organizations and the United Farm Workers union, a bipartisan group of House members introduced a new farm labor bill in Congress on Wednesday.The Farm Workforce Modernization Act would create a program to legalize current agricultural workers who are in the U.S. illegally, as well as their spouses and minor children. The bill would also make several changes to the H-2A agricultural guest-worker program, which would include allowing year-round agricultural guest workers — a major issue for dairy farmers and other livestock producers.Along with changes in the workforce, the bill would establish mandatory E-Verify for all agricultural employers through a phased-in process.Ag labor bills have come up in nearly every session of Congress over the past two decades only to whither somewhere in the process. Agribusiness and farmworker groups this time spent several months at the negotiating table with lawmakers looking to reach a compromise that would generate large bipartisan backing. The resulting bill has 24 Democrats and 18 Republicans as co-sponsors, almost all of whom represent large agricultural districts across the country.The bill was spearheaded by Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., who chairs the House Judiciary Immigration Subcommittee, and Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-Wash.Lofgren called the bill, “a true compromise proposal.” The bill provides stability for both farmers and workers by providing legal status to farmworkers while modernizing the agricultural guest-worker program, H-2A, Lofgren said.“The men and women who work America’s farms feed the nation. But farmworkers across the country are living and working with uncertainty and fear, contributing to the destabilization of farms across the nation,” Lofgren said.NO. 1 CONCERN FOR FARMERSNewhouse noted labor is the No. 1 concern for farmers and ranchers. He said it’s no mystery that the current H-2A program is broken and needs an overhaul.“Our nation’s agriculture industry is diverse and flourishing, but producers are in desperate need of a legal and reliable workforce,” Newhouse said. “As a third-generation farmer, I understand the invaluable contributions made by farmworkers to American agriculture, and we must modernize our guest-worker program to work for farmers, ranchers and farmworkers in the 21st century.”Nobody knows how many agricultural workers are undocumented, but the Pew Research Center has consistently listed agriculture as the industry with the highest share of undocumented workers. Chuck Conner, president and CEO of the National Coalition of Farm Cooperatives, told DTN there could be in excess of 1 million agricultural workers without proper documents. That’s one reason both United Farm Workers and farm groups spent months working on a compromise.“They want them to be properly documented and we do, too, because we do not want to run the risk of losing them,” Conner said. “They are essential to our ability to produce food in this country. Without them, we would lose a substantial portion of our labor force.”REDUCE IMMIGRATION RAIDSAgricultural lobbies and UFW also are looking for changes in the law that will reduce immigration raids that are becoming a growing risk to both employers and farm workers. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has been increasingly hitting agricultural and food-processing operations, including August raids at Mississippi poultry plants that led to more than 600 arrests. But ICE has also hit smaller operations all over the country, ranging from New York dairy farms to a raid at a Nebraska greenhouse operation a year ago that netted more than 100 undocumented workers.Leaders for both farm businesses and workers are looking for a solution from Congress.The bill would give “blue cards” to agricultural workers who have worked at least 180 days on farms over the past two years. They would become eligible for five-year renewable visas that would require working at least 100 days each year in agriculture. Those workers would later on be given the option to earn permanent legal status, but must have at least 14 years of work history in agriculture before they can apply.“That’s something we have been working on for many, many years, so to see this come together is a big milestone,” Conner said.MORE OPTIONS FOR FARMER EMPLOYERSThe bill would make several changes to the H-2A program that include giving farmer employers more options to stagger labor needs in the application process and create a single filing process with the multiple agencies involved in bringing in guest workers.For dairy farmers and others who need full-time workers, the bill would dedicate 40,000 green cards per year for agricultural workers. The bill would also create a new program for temporary workers that can last up to three years. The program would have a cap that could be lifted if market conditions warrant it.One sticking point both the agribusinesses and union were able to compromise on involved the adverse wage rate for guest workers. The way the current scale workers, some areas of the country can see agricultural wages increase as much as 25% in a year in the labor rate for guest workers.“Obviously, there isn’t any segment of our farm economy that can withstand those kind of labor-rate increases,” Conner said. “There just is not enough money being made in agriculture to be able to do that.”The wage formula would remain in place, but it would set a wage freeze in place for one year. The wage increase for guest workers would be limited to at most 3.25% per year, unless the resulting wage is less than 110% of the federal or state minimum wage. Then the wage could go up an additional 1%.“For farmers in many regions of the country, that’s going to be a huge savings for the farmer, and it’s going to enable them to make a go of it rather than somehow try to sustain huge wage-price inflation,” Conner said.Mike McCloskey, a dairy farmer and chairman of the immigration task force for the National Milk Producers Federation, said dairy farmers face a “unique labor crisis,” but they also know how hard it can be to get an immigration reform bill through Congress. “But we simply cannot and will not stop working to find a solution,” McCloskey said. “Dairy needs workers for our industry to sustain itself. It’s that simple, and it’s that dire.”The United Farm Workers and its foundation stated the groups “are enthusiastic about passing legislation that honors all farm workers who feed America by creating a way for undocumented farm workers to apply for legal status and a roadmap to earn citizenship in the future without compromising farm workers’ existing wages and legal protections,” said Arturo Rodriguez, president emeritus of United Farmworkers and spokesperson for the UFW Foundation.“Today is a milestone because this bill will finally bring stability to the agricultural industry,” Rodriguez said.Other groups issuing statements backing the bill include Western Growers, National Farmers Union, the North American Meat Institute and the National Turkey Federation.Chris Clayton can be reached at Chris.Clayton@dtn.comFollow him on Twitter @ChrisClaytonDTN(ES/AG)© Copyright 2019 DTN/The Progressive Farmer. All rights reserved.last_img read more

The Evolution Of The Smartphone [Infographic]

first_imgWhat it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … Tags:#smartphone Role of Mobile App Analytics In-App Engagement Related Posts jon mitchellcenter_img This is an interesting walk through the history of the smartphone from HTC’s perspective. It points out key products, moments and announcements from the companies that pioneered the mobile computer. As the timeline enters the age of ubiquitous mobility, it brings in key stats about mobile usage in terms of data, time, and people. There are also some kind-of-funny jokes. Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces The Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technologylast_img read more

Mechanism to help farmers soon: Union minister

first_imgUnion Minister of State for Agricultural Gajendra Singh Shekhawat on Saturday said the Centre is thinking of developing an institutionalised mechanism to help farmers. Mr. Shekhawat was addressing a gathering here after inaugurating the first phase of Agri Bazar, a multi-facility agricultural complex set up by the Goa State Agricultural Marketing Board at Ponda. He said that schemes like the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana have become a lifeline for farmers in distress. “The Ministry would like to come with a concept of ‘one nation, one Agri Bazar’ to enable farmers to market their yield from one single place.” Agri Bazar is said to be a ‘one-roof solution’ for farmers. The disabled-friendly complex is equipped with facilities such as cold storage, ripening facility, kiosks for self-help groups, markets for local produce and banks.last_img read more

Ghanshyam Tiwari resigns from BJP

first_imgRebel BJP leader Ghanshyam Tiwari on Monday resigned from the party, accusing Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje of indulging in “corruption, favouritism and autocratic behaviour”. Mr. Tiwari announced that he would contest the upcoming State Assembly elections on his newly-floated Bharat Vahini Party ticket.Show-cause noticeMr. Tiwari, a five-time MLA and former Education Minister, has been at loggerheads with the Vasundhara Raje-government on several issues, including farmers’ plight, reservation for higher castes and political appointments. BJP’s national disciplinary committee had issued a show-cause notice to him in 2017.Addressing a press conference here, Mr. Tiwari said he had sent his resignation to party president Amit Shah and brought to his notice the “humiliation” faced by Rajasthan despite the huge mandate given by the people in elections enabling the BJP to come to power at the Centre and in the State. “The BJP government has looted Rajasthan through a syndicate of Ministers and bureaucrats,” he said.“There is an undeclared emergency in the country for the last four years. It is more dangerous than the actual emergency and I am ready to fight it,” said the 71-year-old leader, who described himself as a committed worker of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. Party floated by sonThe Bharat Vahini Party, founded by his son Akhilesh Tiwari and registered by the Election Commission as a political party, will field candidates in all the 200 Assembly constituencies of the State. The party will organise its first convention in Jaipur on July 3, to which 10 representatives from each Assembly seat have been invited. ‘Shah surrendered’Mr. Tiwari also accused Mr. Shah of first having compromised with corruption in Rajasthan and later surrendering before it, and not acting on his repeated complaints.Reacting to Mr. Tiwari’s resignation, acting State BJP president Ashok Parnami said it would not make any impact on the party. “Since the BJP kept patience, Mr. Tiwari resigned on his own. It has sent across a good message to the cadres that there is no place in the party for indisciplined leaders,” he said.Pradesh Congress president Sachin Pilot said Mr. Tiwari’s resignation had proved that corruption had taken an “institutional shape” in BJP and any party leader, howsoever senior he might be, would be shown the door if he opposed it.Mr. Tiwari, a sitting MLA from Sanganer Assembly constituency, had won the 2013 Assembly election by the highest margin of 60,000 votes. He was Education Minister during Ms. Raje’s previous tenure in 2003 to 2008.last_img read more

The Fullness of being

first_imgOne is a fashion icon of the 1960s and ’70s, the other a contemporary national award-winning actor. Asha Parekh, 68, and Kangana Ranaut, 23, compare notes on beauty and the role of women in Bollywood. Parekh, who is known for a string of hits in a career spanning nearly four,One is a fashion icon of the 1960s and ’70s, the other a contemporary national award-winning actor. Asha Parekh, 68, and Kangana Ranaut, 23, compare notes on beauty and the role of women in Bollywood. Parekh, who is known for a string of hits in a career spanning nearly four decades, tells Ranaut of a time when there were no vanity vans, hairstylists for men and certainly no botox. Heroines dressed behind trees, sported elaborate coiffures and had their make-up done by the side of the road. Curvy was in, skinny was out. The salwar-kameez was fashionable, skin show was not. What has not changed is that the audience is just as obsessed about the woman’s beauty and for all the talk about size zero, curves still count, even if they are artificially created. Q. How has the perception of beauty changed since the ’70s?”Now high fashion means shopping abroad with your designer. In films, high society girls don’t wear salwars. Those who do are poor girls.”- Kangana Ranaut”It’s sad that our saris and salwar-kameezes, which looked so fabulous are now considered outdated. The dresses worn now are not ours.”- Asha ParekhKangana Ranaut: A lot. I think in the ’70s, women were more feminine, they were seen as more vulnerable and polite. But these days, the female characters in films are portrayed in a way filmmakers think is contemporary but is actually very reckless. Especially me, in my films I am either doing drugs or killing myself. It is because the society we are in now is torn between India and the West.Asha Parekh: I think the reason for this is that we have become Westernised. We are no longer Indian and that’s the unfortunate part. Many girls have size-zero figures because they have to wear western dresses which won’t look good on a plump woman.advertisementRanaut: That’s true. Our women are very curvy. Now we are in an age where women are extremely fashionable and even wear bikinis. A man likes to see an actress in such clothes, but when he has to take a woman home, he would want her dressed in a sari.Parekh: That’s the thing, we have double standards. At that time, the actresses were all such beautiful women. They were all elegant and each had her own stature.Q. How has the trend of size zero changed things?Parekh and RanautRanaut: It’s died a natural death because you can’t really get attracted to someone who is all bones. This whole concept came from the ramp because there, you need hangars to hang clothes. For example, this film I am doing now, my director tells me everyday not to lose weight.Parekh: I think Indian men used to like buxom women. Our saris are supposed to be draped around a figure that has a bottom as well as something on top. I am being blunt and should not say this, but when you are skinny, it’s like the sari has been wrapped around a stick.Ranaut: The sari itself is such a teasing thing because it is transparent with a small little blouse and your tummy showing. You don’t really have to wear a bikini and shorts to catch the attention of a man. Every man without exception thinks that the sari is the sexiest outfit. So there must be some reason for it.Q. And how is the grooming different from what was done at that time?Parekh: It’s not changed much as we had make-up men and hairdressers even then. In fact, we had very complicated hairstyles. In our time, everyone had a different style and only the hero and heroine had a make-up artist and hairstylist. The rest of the crew had one make-up man. What we didn’t have back then was the trend of men having hairdressers. It’s quite shocking to see men with hairdressers on the sets now. They keep combing their hair.Ranaut: And they get paid so much. My hairdresser complains, I create so many hairstyles and I get paid less than the actors’ stylists because they are from fashionable salons. During one of my shoots, the actor had barely inch-long hair and the hairdresser kept fussing with it.Q. How important is fair skin now?Ranaut: I think it remains an obsession.Parekh: It wasn’t important. A dark girl can be very beautiful. Smita Patil was never fair, neither is Shabana Azmi. There are so many of them I can point to. They weren’t so very fair but they were such great artistes. You couldn’t help but be dumbfounded on seeing them perform on screen.advertisementQ. Is there an emphasis on cosmetic surgery now?Parekh: You shouldn’t play with your body. The effects are temporary and you don’t know what will happen after a period of time. The reaction may come years later. You have to respect what God has given you. We did do things like diet to lose weight. I once had to wear tuxedos for a film. I was plump at that time and felt I looked horrible in them. So I went on a crash diet but I don’t like the idea of going under the knife to lose weight.Ranaut: The camera can magnify even the tiniest flaw. I had an accident when I was small and no one could really see the stitches, but on screen they looked so stark. Cosmetic surgery helped me but there are things like botox that freeze your face forever and you can’t really express yourself.Parekh: If you have scars from an accident and use plastic surgery to remove them, it’s all right. But why do people need botox when they are growing old? One should age gracefully.Ranaut: It has allowed actresses to work for longer. But I personally feel that an actor is all about the characters he or she plays. If I am young, I can play a young seductress but when I get older, I would want to play roles befitting my age. As I age, experience motherhood and gain maturity, I would like to portray characters who reflect that life experience. If I am 40, why should I play a 16-year-old?Q. How has the body image changed since the ’70s? When did breast implants become popular?Parekh: I shouldn’t be naming them but one of the best known actresses today has had so many surgeries that you can see that doctors have actually sculpted her. It is shocking but even her face is completely done. When she speaks, you can see all her muscles are jammed.Ranaut: It’s an individual choice. It is mostly people who do stage shows who tend to go for implants. These have their own problems. To put it this way, when you jump, your house jumps more than your implants, and that’s not a good thing at all.(After recovering from peals of laughter, they continue)Parekh Indian clothes look nice if you have a little bit of flesh. It’s sad that our saris and salwar-kameezes, which looked so fabulous, are now considered outdated. The dresses worn now are not ours. And if you are wearing a dress and you are fat, you will look obnoxious. I see some very fat people wearing tight dresses and they look really terrible.Ranaut That’s not true. If you have curves, it always looks good. I liked the way all of you carried Western clothes even when you were all so curvy. When I was doing my first film, I was painfully skinny. People would ask me if I ate air but I was a teenager then and it’s normal for them to be thin. Actresses from your time ask me, why am I so thin but the point is they are so much older than me and when they were my age, they were even skinnier. When I become my mother’s age, I am sure I will look exactly like her.advertisementQ. Kangana, after working on Once Upon a Time in Mumbaai, what is your perception of beauty in the ’70s?Ranaut: Women were more dressy then. I used to spend a lot of time getting my hair done. But these days, the director says I want you to be normal, like how you would be at home. They focus a lot on reality now which I didn’t feel in Once Upon… I felt like this woman who is like a dream girl. So she doesn’t have to be a reflection of reality.Parekh: At that time, everything looked like a dream. It wasn’t that we didn’t have plain dresses. But there are films where we had to look gorgeous and really done up. We had very complicated hairstyles and often it would take two hours to create a single hairstyle.Q. How has the sense of fashion and clothing changed?Parekh: A lot. Girls don’t wear saris now.Ranaut: Films now don’t have characters who wear salwar-kameez and even if they do, they are shown to be poor girls who don’t dress up. Like the way Saira Banu was dressed in Padosan. She was so sophisticated and she wore churidars and saris. But now high fashion means shopping abroad with your designer. In films, high society girls don’t wear salwars. Those who do are poor girls, like Priyanka Chopra in Kaminey or Aishwarya Rai Bachchan in Taal. It’s like you are poor and cannot go beyond a Rs-250 salwar-kameez.Q. Does skin show enhance beauty?Parekh: We did have skin show, but not so much. In our time, you wouldn’t find a lead heroine in a bikini. You would have a Helen in feathers and sequins, but never the lead actress because she was seen to be gharelu (homely).Ranaut: I agree. In those films, you wouldn’t see a mainstream heroine in a bikini because then the perception was that this is the girl the hero wants to marry. So if you put her in a bikini, you break the audience’s reverie. But today’s hero is confused and he doesn’t know whom he loves. He may like three actresses at the same time. It’s not about just actresses or changing fashion, it’s the whole society around us that has changed.Parekh: Yes. What is projected in films is what you see happening.Ranaut: Which hero can you imagine from the ’70s or ’80s who will say something crazy to his girlfriend like, I am in love with you but I’m not sure I want to marry you, or I’m in love with you but I need a break from you, or I’m in love with you but I think I’m in love with her too?Q. How differently were actresses treated then?Ranaut: Today filmmakers think all actresses are fools, they are dumb blondes, don’t know what they are saying and are stupid creatures who are lucky to be born beautiful. It is sad. You get to hear things like, “You are probably the first actress I have met who is intelligent.” If you ask why or how a certain scene happened, they will be surprised and happy to see you are thinking and will explain it to you. But the perception is that you don’t understand anything and you just want to know who the hero is, how much money you are getting and who is dressing you. They treat you like a baby who doesn’t know anything and doesn’t need to know anything.Parekh: That is shocking. In my time, there was a lot of dignity. A lot of people looked up to us and there was an aura about each artiste. I have been a great fan of Vyjayanthimala. I remember when she was shooting for Amrapali at Mehboob Studio, no one was allowed to go on sets. I was shooting for Teesri Manzil (1966) at that time with Shammi Kapoor and we thought we must go to see her because she is so gorgeous. We couldn’t just barge on to the sets because she didn’t allow anyone. He told me, “I am the distributor of the film so she can’t throw me out”, and when I said what about me, he said “You come with me”. So we crept on to the set. It was a round set with staircases all over and we watched from there. She just took our breath away; she was so gorgeous. Her figure looked like a sculpture standing in front of us. People looked up to these stars when they saw them. When Madhubala arrived on the sets, a hushed whisper would descend on everyone. That was the kind of aura the stars carried at that time.Ranaut: Today, the way a director treats my hero is not the same as he would treat me. It’s because the hero is like family to the filmmaker with an understanding that they have worked together for 15 years and will be together for the next 15 years. The actresses though are flavours of the season, here today, gone tomorrow. The life of an actress has become very short and most don’t last for more than three to five years. It is very unlike your time when actresses worked for up to three decades. Madhuri Dixit was the last one but even she had 20 years.Parekh: Filmmakers respected us. It was a different time altogether. It was like a family, an emotional tie. There was a lot of camaraderie in the unit. So much so that when a film ended, we would all be very upset at the thought that we would spread out again. Now it depends on the films. If your film clicks, you are on top.Ranaut: Earlier it was never just about the hero. Today the hero selects four girls and of these, whoever is available gets the part. That’s why actresses who don’t even know the language are on the top. It is because she is required just for a song and a few funny scenes, so it’s easy to replace her. Who could have replaced an Asha, a Hema or a Sharmila? That’s how you last 30 years, have a strong fan following and a relationship with people. That is how you command respect. It isn’t the same now. You can still go back and relive so many of your great performances but now heroes are so insecure they cut all your scenes. For Fashion, all UTV kept saying was there was no hero, so how could they put so much money in such a film.Parekh: In our time too, there were few heroine-centred films but we did have our individual styles. Everybody in the industry right now is so insecure-not just heroes. It is because all are trying to run fast and get the maximum mileage. So everyone is running and grabbing things. But it is commendable how you face the media today; it’s madness. I don’t know how much stress all of you go through. I don’t think I would have been able to cope with such pressure.Ranaut: I always wanted to know why you never married. I can’t understand how someone like you could remain single.Parekh: It was never destined. I am happier being single when I see the children of others going haywire.last_img read more

Canadian golfers on LPGA PGA Tours show support for victims of Humboldt

first_imgCanadian golfers and their caddies are wearing green and gold ribbons at the LPGA’s Lotte Championship this week to honour the victims of the deadly bus crash involving the Humboldt Broncos junior hockey team.Hamilton’s Alena Sharp posted a picture on Twitter of one of the ribbons pinned to the side of her hat.She says all the other Canadians at the Hawaiian tournament were similarly showing support.Brooke Henderson of Smiths Falls, Ont., Anne-Catherine Tanguay of Quebec City and Maude-Aimee Leblanc of Sherbrooke, Que., are the other Canadians at the Lotte Championship, which began Wednesday at Ko Olina Golf Club.Canadians on other golf tours also showed their support, with PGA golfer Nick Taylor of Abbotsford, B.C., offering to donate money for every hole under par at this week’s RBC Heritage in South Carolina, while the Canadian golfers at last week’s Symetra Tour event pinned green ribbons on their hats.Sixteen people were killed when the Broncos’ bus collided with a semi truck Friday in northern Saskatchewan. Thirteen other people were injured.last_img read more