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H-2A program gains traction in farm labor market

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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