Year-round ag labor fix included in appropriations bill
Amendment allows use of H-2A temporary ag worker program for dairy and ag operations with year-round needs.
Jacqui Fatka, NebraskaFarmer
Jul 16, 2021
The agriculture industry’s labor situation has been a concern for many years, and currently large segments face a critical shortage of workers. This shortfall is exacerbated by the fact that the H-2A program is not working for all of agriculture, such as dairies and agriculture operations with multiple crops and harvests.
The House Committee on Appropriations approved an amendment introduced by Reps. Dan Newhouse, R-Wash., and Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, to the Fiscal Year 2022 Homeland Security Appropriations Act that would allow the H-2A temporary agriculture guestworker program to be accessed year-round for Fiscal Year 2022, opening the program to producers in all sectors of agriculture, including dairy, greenhouses, and other agricultural operations with year-round labor needs. The amendment was adopted by voice vote.
“Our farmers and ranchers are in desperate need of a legal and reliable workforce,” says Newhouse. “Unfortunately, the H-2A program does not work for all of agriculture. As farming methods have become less seasonal or able to produce multiple harvests, the H-2A program must be updated to meet the needs of the agriculture industry. This amendment supports legal immigration while making H-2A more workable for farmers” …
... At the start of July, the National Pork Producers Council introduced a campaign, “Year-Round Pork Needs Year-Round Workers,” highlighting the vital role of foreign-born workers across the U.S. pork industry and the critical need for comprehensive labor reform to address a labor shortage. NPPC is urging Congress to address labor reform that both opens the H-2A visa program to year-round labor, without a cap, and provides legal status for agricultural workers already in the country...