Foreign Workers Not From Mexico Pt 1

Foreign Workers Not From Mexico Pt 1

Bob Larson
Bob Larson
With today's Fruit Grower Report, I'm Bob Larson. The farm labor shortage has led to the recruitment of H-2A workers from beyond Mexico.

After inquiries from several countries, WAFLA recently brought in about 50 H-2A visa guest-workers from Central America who arrived last month ...

DAN FAZIO ... "So, we decided to work with the State Department to get some of the H-2A people from El Salvador and we've not been disappointed. So, we brought our first group from El Salvador and then we've got groups scheduled from Guatemala in June and July."

WAFLA Director Dan Fazio says after several meetings with worker groups in the two countries, they decided to bring the first laborers in to see how things go...

DAN FAZIO ... "We brought two groups of Salvadoran workers. One's working on a tradition tree fruit contract where they're doing all of the thinning and pre-harvest work and then going to be involved in harvesting apples.

And then we have another small contract where workers are going to be going between small farmers. Right now, they're on a grass seed operation and then they're transitioning June first into cherries, and then after that they'll transition into pears. So, we have two groups of Salvadoran workers who got here, one of them bouncing around to several small farmers and one of them that's under a traditional apple contract."

Fazio says there will be a learning curve on the best countries to work with and any immigration issues that could come up.

Listen tomorrow for more on the H-2A foreign guest worker program and other countries under consideration.

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