New data shows that 2019 growth in the H-2A program is slowing. According to the Labor Department, the number of on the farm position requests increased just 2% this year, compared to a 29% increase in 2018. American Farm Bureau Federation Economist Veronica Nigh said there are two potential causes for this drop.
“One is that we’ve reached maturity on the number of foreign employees that we think we need for predominantly picking fruits and vegetables in the United States. Or, as we kind of look at the data to see what’s more likely, that the slowdown is because there’s been challenges in the production in fruits and vegetables in a few states across the U.S., which has really pulled that growth potential down.”
Georgia farmers are the top users of the H-2A program. Nigh said the data over the next few years will confirm what’s behind the slow H-2A program growth rate in 2019.
“Is it what we think? Is it just that we’ve had a rough production year and that’s slowed the growth in the program? Or, indeed have we reached maturity on the program? And we won’t know that until we’ve seen a few more years of data. Right now, we’re just going to have to sit and wait, which is usually the hardest part.”
More on this analysis can be found at the Farm Bureau Federation’s Website.
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