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Bringing Certainty & Security to U.S. Farmers

Bringing Certainty & Security to U.S. Farmers


Background

U.S. farmers are struggling to find enough available workers. While the H-2A visa is intended to help farmers find workers from abroad, onerous regulations render the program unusable to many particular those who stand to benefit most, small farms and by extension the communities that surround them. The H-2A visa is a temporary agricultural visa that serves to address labor gaps in the ag sector allowing for more growth, production, and by extension more jobs for American workers. H-2A workers represent 10% of the total U.S. agricultural workforce even with the high costs and innumerable hoops employers have to jump through. There is high demand for this kind of labor that cannot and is not being met with the local labor supply. Reform of the H-2a program would help farmers and the sector as whole in addition to providing temporary work opportunities to those who need them.

Reduce Onerous Red Tape 

The H-2A program contains dozens of hurdles that prevent employers from filling positions altogether. Improving the visa system by making the H-2A wage requirement more reflective of the average wages that similarly employed Americans are paid could go a long way in increasing employer accessibility.  Reducing other barriers like the need to recertify regularly and resubmit paperwork when there is an employer who wishes to rehire the same worker, provides a more consistent source of labor for farms that need it.

Misconceptions and Reality

Improving the H-2A system benefits famers and the temporary workers that fill the hard-to-fill positions. The presence of this program has been able to keep some agricultural businesses from permanently closing. The common misconception among those that oppose the H-2A visa is that H-2A workers undercut local wages. This is not the reality. On average it costs a farmer over $10,000 to bring in a single H-2A worker. It is more challenging and significantly more costly for a farmer to hire an H-2A worker and yet the demand persists. Reforms to the H-2A visa must occur in order to support our nations farmers.