Interest for H-2A workers not slowing down

Demand for the H-2A guest worker program, which allows foreign workers to fill temporary or seasonal ag jobs, has nearly quadrupled in the last decade.

Economic Research Service Senior Economist Jonh Pender tells Brownfield there were 275,000 certified jobs in 2020.

“There were five states that accounted for more than half of the H-2A jobs certified, that included Florida, Georgia, Washington, California, and North Carolina,” he says.

USDA recently analyzed usage of the program between 2010 and 2020.

Pender says nearly half of the jobs were requested by farm labor contractors which in some cases represented the needs of several states.

“You have farm labor contractors in Florida that are being used by farmers even in the Midwest and throughout the eastern part of the U.S.

In 2022, demand for the program through the third quarter was up more than 15 percent from 2021 with nearly 300,000 jobs certified.

Nearly all the positions are in crop agriculture and wages have increased by about four percent each year according to Pender.

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