Clearing Up Confusion, Trade Official Visits Ag Exporters & Gypsy Moth Eradication Review
I'm Lacy Gray with Washington Ag Today.
The Department of Labor recently announced that it was temporarily suspending the processing of all H-2B applications until further notice. The H-2B program is the seasonal non-agricultural guest worker program. Many wonder if the suspension of H-2B applications could affect agriculture. Here to answer that is WAFLA's Dan Fazio.
FAZIO: H-2B program is smaller than the H-2A program; it is capped at 66-thousand workers. H-2A program is uncapped and last year we did over 115-thousand workers nationwide, 9,000 in Washington State. So, H-2B certainly has a place where it can help agriculture employers and their packing operations that are considered non-agricultural jobs, but the H-2B non-agriculture guest worker program does not directly impact farmers and ranchers.
Deputy Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agriculture Service Alexis Taylor has been touring multiple states in the Northwest. The Trans-Pacific Partnership has of course been a main topic of discussion on the tour. Taylor told ag industry leaders that the agreement being negotiated with Southeast Asia has huge potential, particularly for the Pacific Northwest and the producers in Washington and Oregon.
A plan to eradicate an infestation of the destructive forest pest gypsy moth near Yacolt has been proposed by the WSDA. A SEPA checklist and a NEPA environmental assessment are now available for public review and comment. If approved, treatments will begin in April or early May. To review the documents visit WSDA's website.
That's Washington Ag Today.
I'm Lacy Gray with the Ag Information Network of the West.