David Carle, spokesman for Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., said Leahy is working with senators from other farm states to pass so-called AgJobs legislation to establish a guest worker program to address the labor needs of farms not being met by Americans.

The legislation was introduced earlier this year but languished while Leahy and others attached a version of it to the massive immigration reform bill that subsequently failed to win Senate approval, Carle said.

"He's trying to get consensus for a stand-alone bill but that's a difficult thing to do because there are objections to having immigration reform passed in pieces instead of as a whole," Carle said. "It might have to be brought in as an amendment to another bill."