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Agri View: Labor Program

Dan Agri View, Labor and Immigration

migrant farm laror workers working in agricultural field picking
Everett Griner talks about producers need a working labor program in today’s Agri View.

Labor Program

This summer has made it clear that the H2A program is not working. H2A is the only Federal program that enables a farmer to hire foreign field workers with experience to harvest fruit and vegetable crops on an effective schedule. And it isn’t working. Too many of administrative delays. If workers arrive a week late, some of these crops may as well remain in the field. There are at lease sixteen crops in twenty-two states that command this narrow schedule. And H2A only works about half of the time. Congress has had eleven years to fix this problem but little to nothing has been done. Farmers want, no farmer’s need, a more reliable way to have experienced workers available when that crop is ready to harvest. Otherwise, we can import our fruits and vegetables.

That’s Agri View for today. I’m Everett Griner.

From: U.S. Department of Labor

H-2A Temporary Agricultural Program

Program Overview

three strawberry pickers
The H-2A temporary agricultural program allows agricultural employers who anticipate a shortage of domestic workers to bring nonimmigrant foreign workers to the U.S. to perform agricultural labor or services of a temporary or seasonal nature. Employment is of a seasonal nature where it is tied to a certain time of year by an event or pattern, such as a short annual growing cycle, and requires labor levels above what is necessary for ongoing operations. Employment is of a temporary nature when the employer’s need to fill the position with a temporary worker will, except in extraordinary circumstances, last no longer than 1 year.

The Department must determine that:

  1. there are not sufficient able, willing, and qualified U.S. workers available to perform the temporary and seasonal agricultural employment for which nonimmigrant foreign workers are being requested; andMigrant labor  Workers
  2. employment of H-2A workers will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers. The statute and Departmental regulations provide numerous worker protections and employer requirements with respect to wages and working conditions. The Department’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) has responsibility for enforcing provisions of worker contracts.

 

Detailed Program Description available here.