COVID-19 Ag Challenges Pt 3

COVID-19 Ag Challenges Pt 3

Bob Larson
Bob Larson
I’m Bob Larson. With much of the world’s population practicing social distancing, farmers and ranchers continue putting food on our table.

In a recent bit of good news, the State Department and Homeland Security waived in-person interviews for eligible H-2 visa applicants.

Washington Farm Bureau CEO John Stuhlmiller that’s huge for what could have created a desperate labor situation …

STUHLMILLER … “So, the recruiting has already been happening and the contracts are being made with those workers and then, low and behold, you can’t get across the border or whatever. And that, it’s a fragile network, if you will, and if you don’t get across the border that’s going to pinch each crop as we go.”

But, he says there will still be a challenges …

STUHLMILLER … “We’re watching it very closely. The federal government is on it. A lot of Congressional members get it, and then they’re really trying to figure out a solution, but it’s going to be a challenge, I think, for this season.”

These flexibilities will allow farmers and ranchers to utilize workers they’ve used in the past, or those who are already in the U.S. …

STUHLMILLER … “So, I think we have shored up the ports issue and the movement, the truck traffic, rail traffic, all of that traffic. You know, there’s two great challenges, getting to market, but also then getting the product that we’re raising, whatever food stuffs, getting it picked and handled, weeded, all those things. It’s labor and it’s transportation are our two biggest issues. It looks like transportation is shored up. Now, we’ve just got to make sure we shore up that labor side of things.”

Stuhlmiller says H-2 labor is vital to the economy and food security of America.

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