LEXINGTON, Ky. (Thursday, March 18, 2021) –The Kentucky Equine Education Project (KEEP), Kentucky’s equine economic advocate, released the following statement today regarding the U.S. House of Representatives passage of H.R. 1603, the Farm Workforce Modernization Act of 2021:

“KEEP commends the U.S. House of Representatives for its the passage of H.R. 1603, the Farm Workforce Modernization Act of 2021, which addresses the labor crisis facing many agriculture operations across the country by reforming the H-2A visa process, providing a path to legal status for farm workers, and implementing a nationwide E-Verify system.

“While this bipartisan legislation does not affect H-2B visas, which are also used by the Kentucky horse industry, it does impact H-2A visas, which are critical to horse breeding operations. KEEP calls on Congress to address the vast shortages of H-2B visas in future immigration legislation to meet the needs of Kentucky’s horse industry.

“In addition to advocating in support of smart and sensible immigration reforms to address the labor shortages of Kentucky’s horse industry, KEEP has invested heavily in promoting career opportunities within the industry to Kentuckians in order to create a homegrown workforce.”

The Kentucky Equine Education Project, Kentucky’s equine economic advocate, is a not-for-profit grassroots organization created in 2004 to preserve, promote and protect Kentucky’s signature multi-breed horse industry. KEEP is committed to ensuring Kentucky remains the horse capital of the world, including educating Kentuckians and elected officials of the importance of the horse industry to the state. KEEP was the driving force in the establishment of the Kentucky Breeders Incentive Fund, which has paid out more than $177 million to Kentucky breeders since its inception in 2006, and pari-mutuel wagering on historical horse racing, which has been responsible for more than $50 million to purses and more than $24 million to the Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund.

KEEP works to strengthen the horse economy in Kentucky through our statewide network of citizen advocates. To learn more about how you can become a member or support our work, please visit www.horseswork.com.