New Grant Program Seeks to Address Workforce Challenges

Brian GermanAgri-Business, Labor and Immigration

A new pilot program that seeks to bolster the food and ag supply chain and tackle farm workforce challenges has been introduced by the Biden-Harris Administration. The Farm Labor Stabilization and Protection Pilot Program (FLSP Program), with up to $65 million in grants, is being made available by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in collaboration with other federal agencies.

Workforce Challenges

“This pilot program has been designed with significant input from immigration, labor, and agricultural stakeholders in an effort to help address these immediate challenges,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a press release. “The program will provide incentives designed to simultaneously benefit workers and employers, with the potential to inform the H-2A program, raise labor standards for farmworkers, and help alleviate our agricultural workforce challenges over the long term.”

This program serves multiple key objectives. Firstly, it addresses the pressing workforce challenges in agriculture. The FLSP Program seeks to expand the pool of available workers and enhance employer competitiveness by elevating job quality. The program also aims to reduce irregular migration, particularly from Northern Central America. It seeks to expand economic benefits to foreign workers and, as well as promote professional and economic growth opportunities for those who participate in the H-2A visa program. Thirdly, the FLSP Program strives to improve working conditions for farmworkers, recognizing that a stable agricultural sector hinges on attracting and retaining skilled workers. Through this initiative, USDA will support efforts to enhance working conditions for both U.S. and H-2A workers.

Eligibility for this competitive grant program is restricted to domestic agricultural employers who meet regulatory requirements for the H-2A program, including effective recruitment of U.S.-based workers. Eligible employers include fixed-site employers, joint-employers, agricultural associations, and H-2A labor contractors. Applications for the FLSP program must be submitted by November 28.

Brian German
Ag News Director / AgNet West