H-2A Study for Washington Ag Pt 2

H-2A Study for Washington Ag Pt 2

Bob Larson
Bob Larson
I'm Bob Larson. A recent study, at the request of the Trump Administration, shows the economic impact of the H-2A legal questworker program and why the program is vital to addressing the labor shortage in agriculture.

WAFLA director Dan Fazio says that need continues to grow ...

DAN FAZIO ... "In 2015, the year of the study, there were a little bit over 12,000 workers in Washington state through the legal worker program, 12,000 labor certifications. In 2017, they expect that figure to be close to 17,000 workers."

Fazio says the study is a great way to show the numbers ...

DAN FAZIO ... "Really, what's happened is that we have a dramatic labor shortage, a labor shortage in excess of 20 percent and we have a stagnant workforce of domestic workers. As this study detailed, the domestic workforce is slowly declining to where it's gone from about 53,000 in 2010 to about 48,000 in 2015."

Fazio says that's just the half of it ...

DAN FAZIO ... "On the other hand, we need about 75,000 seasonal workers. And so, what's going to make up that slack from the under 50,000 that come here from the domestic worker program. So, we have, basically, a delta of about 25,000 workers, we're going to need about 25,000 guest-workers to come into Washington state to help us with the seasonal agricultural work."

Fazio says the H-2A program is vital to Washington state tree fruit growers, but it also helps the workers, with an average, six-month earnings of $24,932, of which about 80 percent returns with them to their country of origin.

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