Relieving Ag Labor Shortage & CDL Not Needed By Farmers
Reforming the H2A Guest Worker Program and making it easier to use would go a long way in solving the farm worker shortage that Washington farmers have been facing, but until such time reforms do take place other answers must be found. Dan Fazio, Director of the Washington Farm Labor Association talks about the research the association has done into a possible workaround solution to getting H2A work visas for farm workers who may have issues with their documents.
FAZIO: You can get an H2A visa, which is a non-immigrant visa, a visa that allows a person to come here for up to three years working for up to ten months at any one farm. But those visas are only available to people who have never been in the country in an undocumented fashion. However, we have found a waiver, and the waiver would allow a person who had any kind of unlawful presence in the U.S.to apply for a waiver and come in under the H2A program, and indeed under other non-immigrant types of visas. We’re really happy to have found this kind of exception in the rule and we’re going to start testing it out, we’ve done the research and it looks like it’s a doable type of a thing.
The Senate has passed Substitute Senate Bill 6423 elucidating that farmers and their workers do not have to have a commercial driver’s license when hauling agricultural products, supplies, and equipment from their farms to storage. The bill was supported by the Washington Farm Bureau and requested by the Washington State Potato Commission.
I’m Lacy Gray and that’s Washington Ag Today on the Northwest Ag Information Network.