Shorthanded Farmers In Oregon Say Drivers Cards Would Help Labor Force

Aug 30, 2014

Oregon agriculture groups say many farms are critically shorthanded. Some farmers say they'll support Measure 88, allowing Oregon residents who don't have the necessary paperwork for a driver's license to get a driver's card instead.
Credit PattieS/

Oregon farmers say they are having difficulty putting laborers to work because many of them can't get drive legally. Voters could approve a law in November to help with that. Oregon Ballot Measure 88 would create a four year drivers card for those who meet other qualifications other than proof of legal presence in the U.S. Opponents are worried access to drivers cards' will enable drug trafficking and encourage illegal immigration. Oregon Farm Bureau President Barry Bushue disagrees and supports Measure 88.

Bushue: "All this is, it's a card that says you can drive. It doesn't give you citizenship, it doesn't give you access to anything else. It just says you pass a driver's test, you can drive; and in order to drive, you have to have insurance."

Last year the Oregon Legislature passed Senate Bill 833, but opponents gathered enough signatures to allow voters to decide. Agriculture is the second largest industry in Oregon. Some farms have been downsizing due to a lack of skilled workers.

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