Today during the hybrid 2021 annual meeting of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, NASDA members voted to promote agricultural workforce reform. Specifically, NASDA members adopted policy to support amending the H-2A and H-2B visa programs to include year-round workers for the agriculture and forestry industries.
NASDA CEO Dr. Barb Glenn praised members actions saying, “Systems that establish a secure, dependable workforce for the agricultural and food industries are necessary to our food supply. An estimated half of the U.S. agricultural workforce is foreign-born, and year-round H-2A and H-2B visas would provide opportunities for these individuals to contribute to the U.S. agricultural economy and earn legal status through continued agricultural employment.”
Year-round H-2A visas have never been available before, and their establishment would be transformational for agricultural operations like dairies that currently rely only on temporary labor.
“Understanding the demand for labor across the U.S. food system, NASDA will continue to advocate for flexible, efficient visa programs that permit year-round employment for foreign-born agricultural workers, along with other programs that address workforce challenges,” Glenn said.
For more information about NASDA’s efforts to advance the U.S. agricultural workforce, visit NASDA.org/WorkforceDevelopment.
NASDA is a nonpartisan, nonprofit association which represents the elected and appointed commissioners, secretaries and directors of the departments of agriculture in all fifty states and four U.S. territories. NASDA grows and enhances American agriculture through policy, partnerships and public engagement.