The coronavirus pandemic appears to have had little impact on the operation of the H-2A farm labor program.
There were initial concerns about delays in getting workers. But the Labor Department certified more than 86,000 positions during the quarter that ended June 30. That is a 4% increase over the same quarter in 2019, according to an analysis by the American Farm Bureau Federation.
By comparison, the number of certified positions grew just 2% from 2018 to 2019 over the same period.
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The Labor Department reported that 96% of the applications were processed in a timely manner during the latest quarter. That makes it the best processing rate for that quarter since 2017.
More than 220,000 H-2A positions have been approved through the first three quarters of fiscal 2020, including 21,000 in California, according to DOL's quarterly report. Florida leads the nation with 28,005.