Worker Visas at the Border Pt 1

Worker Visas at the Border Pt 1

Bob Larson
Bob Larson
With today’s Fruit Grower Report, I’m Bob Larson. The coronavirus outbreak is now posing a serious threat to Northwest crops that rely heavily on workers from other countries.

WAFLA Director Dan Fazio says what he’s hearing is that unless we can get workers here in April and May, there will be no September harvests …

FAZIO … “Yeah, absolutely, absolutely it is. That’s

exactly … I didn’t make that up. A grower said that to me.”

Fazio says the pandemic is causing problems for many industries …

FAZIO … “But, we just have to tell people, look, we feel that agriculture is a very vital to the economy, and I think everyone gets that. It’s a corridor economy because, you know, you produce a crop and then people transport it, process it, ship it, and do everything else to it. So, it creates several jobs down the line.”

As for our food, Fazio says the goods must get to market …

FAZIO … “And the agricultural sufficiency is part of the nation, and so that’s kind of where we’re coming from and there’s no arguments from anyone on that topic. Everyone agrees with us.”

So that’s why, Fazio says the border closures are being taken so seriously …

FAZIO … “As of Monday the 16th, they said we’re not processing visas and there had already been discussions with the USDA and State Department. And, the complication for the State Department, obviously, is keeping workers safe and keeping their employees safe, etc.”

Tune in tomorrow when Fazio explains the exemptions from the State Department that should help get this year’s crops from farm to table.

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