NASDA Members Urge U.S. Agencies to Collaborate on Strategies to Address Labor

Clint ThompsonLabor

WASHINGTON, D.C. – At the 2024 Winter Policy Conference, members of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) encouraged federal agencies to develop strategies that address agricultural labor shortages across the country.  The action item aims to encourage the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the United States Department of Labor and the United States Department of Homeland Security to immediately …

Georgia Producer: Reform Needed for H-2A

Clint ThompsonGeorgia, Labor

By Clint Thompson The controversial H-2A system was a point of emphasis during the University of Georgia Ag Forecast event last week. The only reliable source of labor for specialty crop producers is also extremely expensive, almost prohibitively so for some growers. It also has stringent regulations that can be burdensome for farmers trying to stay compliant. Producers like Karla …

Transparency Needed: Legislators, Industry Leaders Want Clarification with AEWR

Clint ThompsonLabor

By Clint Thompson What started out as good intentions with the Adverse Effect Wage Rate (AEWR) has evolved into a system disadvantageous to specialty crop producers. That is the mindset shared by Chris Butts, executive director of the Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association (GFVGA). AEWR was intended to protect domestic workers and their potential opportunities for employment. But since …

Seventy-Five Reps Plead for Freeze to Current AEWR

Clint ThompsonLabor

A total of 75 congressmen recently issued a bipartisan letter to House and Senate appropriations leaders asking that the Adverse Effect Wage Rate (AEWR) be frozen in an upcoming spending package. AEWR has more than doubled since 2005, with the nation’s average AEWR reaching $17.55 per hr in 2024. A temporary wage freeze would alleviate the increaased financial burden and …

Wage Rate

What Adverse Effect? NCAE President Discusses Petition to Labor Secretary

Clint ThompsonLabor

By Clint Thompson Why have an adverse effect wage rate (AEWR) if there is no adverse effect on domestic workers? That’s a question that Michael Marsh, president and chief executive officer of the National Council of Agricultural Employers (NCAE), wants answered from Acting Department of Labor Secretary Julie Su. “We’re trying to get her to just simply follow the law …

NCAE Petitions Acting Labor Secretary to Change Wage Methodology

Clint ThompsonLabor

(Arlington, VA) – Adverse effect wage rates (AEWR) continue to skyrocket in the H-2A program. The National Council of Agricultural Employers (NCAE) is attempting to persuade regulators to modify the current formula that determines AEWR. The NCAE petitioned Acting Department of Labor Secretary Julie Su this week to amend the regulatory methodology for determining adverse effect wage rates in the …

Immigration Reform Needed for Future of Farming

Clint ThompsonLabor

By Clint Thompson Immigration reform would go a long way in helping specialty crop producers secure an adequate and reliable workforce for the future. But too many sides with too many opinions have kept this important step from becoming a reality. Bob Redding, who works for the Redding Firm and serves as a lobbyist for agricultural groups in Washington, D.C., …

California’s H-2A Ranking a Plus for Southeast?

Clint ThompsonLabor

By Clint Thompson California’s surge up the states leaderboard pertaining to H-2A workers is a plus for Southeast specialty crop producers, according to one industry leader. Chris Butts, executive vice president of the Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association (GFVGA), believes it will help enlighten legislative leaders about the challenges associated with navigating through a complicated and expensive program. “I …

Believe it or Not: Specialty Crop Producers Would Like to Avoid H-2A Program

Clint ThompsonLabor

By Clint Thompson Specialty crop producers would like nothing more than to hire domestic labor and scrap the expensive and cumbersome H-2A program altogether. But growers are not afforded that option. American workers are dodging work in agriculture, leaving fruit and vegetable work to a seasonal workforce that largely only exists overseas. Certain factions of the nation’s leadership are oblivious …

AEWR Increases for Southeast Region

Clint ThompsonLabor

Florida’s new Adverse Effect Wage Rate (AEWR) for 2024 is expected to increase by 3% from $14.33 to $14.77, according to results from the most recent Farm Labor Survey that was released last week. As part of the Southeast that includes Georgia, Alabama and South Carolina, Georgia expects a 7% rise in its AEWR, increasing from $13.67 to $14.66. Georgia’s …