Farm Bureau analyzes H-2A proposal


Farm Bureau analyzes H-2A proposal

American Farm Bureau and others are concerned about a proposed Department of Labor rule change for the H-2A program.

Farm Bureau says the change will lead to higher wages than anticipated by the Department of Labor, create more administrative burdens for farms, and have an adverse effect on higher-paid positions like farmworker supervisors.

Sarah Black, general manager of Great Lakes Ag Labor Services, an ag labor agency for Michigan Farm Bureau, tells Brownfield the proposed rule would effect labor rates across farms regardless of their usage of the H-2A program.

“We really need to be vocal and provide practical examples of what this would mean if it goes forward,” she says.

AFBF says one of the significant impacts on farms would be the proposed change for workers that do multiple types of jobs on the farm.  For example, if a worker spends most of the day picking vegetables, but a short time moving the truck from row to row, the proposal will require paying the employee the higher Average Effect Wage Rate for truck drivers for all work performed.  Farm Bureau says this increases the cost for each laborer from the $13.00 an hour Adverse Effect Wage Rate to between $19.00 and $36.00 an hour, depending on what the employee is working on.

Written comments on the proposed change are due January 31st.

Hear more from Black on H-2A concerns in our interview.