AFBF calls for ag labor certainty
A leader with American Farm Bureau says AFBF is pleased that the US government will prioritize H-2A workers who are eligible for an interview waiver in light of the announcement that visa application processing in Mexico will be suspended.
Allison Crittenden, director of congressional relations with AFBF, says there is still a lot of uncertainty.
“So this did bring some relief as we went from thinking we may have zero workers coming in during this time to having some come in,” she says. “However, it’s unknown how many of our H-2A visa applications are interview waiver eligible.”
She says it is a shock to the agriculture industry as farmers and ranchers are ramping up for production in many areas of the country.
“We’re getting ready to go into quarter two and three where we see peak H-2A usage,” she says. “So, what does this mean for farmers and ranchers…it means that it’s still unknown how many of their workers will be able to get to their farms and help them provide food.”
Crittenden says AFBF is asking the administration to provide solutions that will allow the industry to access the workforce it needs.
She says farmers and ranchers remained committed to providing food and resources to Americans.
“Farmers and ranchers see this as a call to action to continue to provide food for our grocery stores,” she says. “We’ve seen the toilet paper shortages and the shortages of all kinds of food, but I will just remind everybody that we wouldn’t have those products if it weren’t for our American farmers and ranchers.”
In 2019, 258,000 immigrant workers were approved under the H-2A guest worker program.
Audio: Allison Crittenden, American Farm Bureau Federation