New H-2A wage rule making ripples

Western Growers CEO criticizes new H-2A wage rule

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Western Growers CEO criticizes new H-2A wage rule

A final rule updating the Adverse Effect Wage Rates for the H-2A program has been published in the Federal Register, AgNet West reports. 

The amendment, which is set to become effective on March 30, calls for wages for field workers to be based on wage data from the Farm Labor Survey from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. 

The program allows U.S. employers or agents meeting specific regulatory requirements to bring foreign nationals to the U.S. to fill temporary agricultural jobs.

Additionally, other H-2A workers including agricultural equipment operators will have wages based on the Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics survey from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

The update has encountered broad criticism from multiple agricultural groups, as many argue that it may add additional burdens to an industry already struggling with a variety of economic challenges such as inflation and input costs surges.

Following the announcement, Western Growers President & CEO Dave Puglia issued a statement criticizing the update.

“Increasing wages by regulatory order will force farmers to cut back on plantings in the U.S. and increase their farm operations in Mexico and other countries where wages are a fraction of the H-2A wage. No one in the Administration would want those things to happen, but these are the entirely foreseeable consequences of economically myopic policy decisions like this,” he said.

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