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AFBF Hopes to Maintain Advertising Requirements for Farm Labor Positions

Brian GermanAgri-Business, Labor and Immigration

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) recently proposed changes to the advertising requirements for farm labor positions.   The current rule requires employers to advertise available positions in local print newspapers for two consecutive days before H-2A worker permits can be obtained.  The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) is encouraging DOL to let the current advertising requirements continue to satisfy the legal obligations under the H-2A guest worker program.

The DOL published a notice of proposed rulemaking in the advertising requirementsFederal Register in November, which would update the requirements for advertising employee vacancies in agriculture.  The proposed changes to modernize the recruitment advertising rule would require employers to list farm labor jobs online in lieu of print advertisements.  The new requirement would purportedly be more effective and efficient in notifying American workers about job opportunities.

AFBF pointed to possible issues with the purpose of the proposed rule and what kind of outcomes can be expected if it is implemented.  In its comments to DOL, AFBF stated that “While the placement cost of the job posting might be less online than in print, the overall costs for employers might well be greater even while protections for U.S. workers remain unchanged.”

Requiring farm labor positions to be posted online will most likely increase the number of responses that are received by employers.   AFBF raised concern that the ease of application would result in far more unqualified applicants which would require a follow up on behalf of the employer in keeping accurate records according to H-2A requirements.  Because of those concerns, AFBF is suggesting DOL make both print and online advertisements acceptable under the H-2A requirement obligation.

While AFBF has voiced concern regarding the proposal, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue issued a statement in support of the change to the advertising requirements.

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Brian German

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Ag News Director, AgNet West