The State Department agreed to accelerate approvals of H-2A farm workers by waiving interviews for many applicants, a move welcomed by agricultural groups who feared that embassy cutbacks amid the COVID-19 pandemic would leave farms without needed labor.
The Democratic-controlled House approved a bill Wednesday to expand the H-2A visa program to year-round farmworkers and provide growers relief from wage hikes, but the broad GOP opposition underscored the challenge of getting Congress to address the agricultural labor squeeze.
Lawmakers return from the Thanksgiving break with a long to-do list important to agriculture that includes keeping the government funded and potentially debating the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, all of which is competing for attention with the House impeachment battle.
Farmers nationwide could be forced sometime soon to start ensuring the eligibility of all new employees using the federal E-Verify system, which current agricultural users say is so flawed that many undocumented applicants can easily get around.
A bipartisan farm labor reform bill released Wednesday would expand the H-2A program to year-round workers and provide farms relief on wage rates, while offering legal status to existing agricultural workers who are undocumented.
WASHINGTON, July 12, 2017 - States are leaving the U.S. minimum wage rate in the dust as they lift their own wage floors, lock in further hikes across the next several years and hit a lot of farm and ranch operating budgets in the process.
WASHINGTON, Mar. 15, 2017 - A little-noticed provision in President Trump’s revised executive order barring residents of some predominantly Muslim countries from entering the United States could make it harder for farmers and ranchers to get legal foreign workers on a timely basis.
WASHINGTON, Mar. 15, 2017 - Mercer Canyons, a winery and diversified farming operation in Washington state’s Horse Heaven Hills, has agreed to pay $1.2 million to settle a class-action suit involving more than 600 Yakima Valley farmworkers.