Virginia Republican Representative Bob Goodlatte will introduce a bill next week that would replace the H-2A guest worker program. The bill is titled the Agricultural Guestworker Act and would replace the program that many in agriculture use to find labor.
Packer.com says Goodlatte, Chair of the House Judiciary Committee, told the United Fresh Produce Conference in Washington, D.C., that his program would reduce red tape for growers and be a significant improvement on the H-2A program. The bill would include greater access to workers without a path to citizenship, higher wages (15% above a state’s minimum wage), no requirement for worker housing or transportation, and allows currently illegal farm workers to participate in the program.
“The bill replaces H-2A with a more efficient guest worker program, known as H-2C, that’s designed to meet the needs of a diverse agriculture industry,” Goodlatte says. “The program will be run by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, an agency that clearly understands the unique needs of farmers and ranchers as well as the importance of getting perishable commodities to market in an efficient manner.”
If you have a story idea for the Washington Ag Network, call (509) 547-1618, or e-mail email@example.com