H-2A program gains traction in farm labor market

Dec 11, 2023

The agricultural industry is adapting to economic pressures, particularly in labor costs. The Market Intel report of fiscal year 2023 indicates a record-high reliance on the H-2A program by farmers, coinciding with a significant rise in the Adverse Effect Wage Rate (AEWR). 

The report shows that the number of certified H-2A positions has increased to 378,513, up 2% from fiscal year 2022. This increase is noteworthy, considering the substantial wage rate jump of nearly 19% since 2020. Consequently, labor costs have become a considerable burden for many in the farming sector. 

Every state in the US, including Puerto Rico, has seen H-2A certified positions, with increases noted in 37 states and decreases in 14. The report points out that the growth rate of certified positions, though moderate nationally at 2%, has seen double-digit increases in several states and territories. 

The situation poses a challenge for farm families, as pointed out by AFBF President Zippy Duvall. The labor-intensive nature of farming requires skilled workers, but the increasing wage rates are squeezing the already tight margins. Duvall calls attention to the critical need for a practical solution to the H-2A program and AEWR issues, which are vital for the sustainability of farming operations. 

Source : wisconsinagconnection
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