Ag Labor a Challenge During Pandemic
President Donald Trump says his executive order barring new immigration will apply only to people seeking green cards, last 60 days and won't affect workers entering the country on a temporary basis.
The State Department has deemed agriculture as “essential” and Homeland Security has waived much of the red tape for H-2A visas, but Pam Lewison with the Initiative on Agriculture at the Washington Policy Center, says that’s just on the U.S. side, not the foreign consulates.
“So, I think we’re all sort of in a wait and see on that side. Hopeful, but we’ll just have to see how it bears out as things move along through the season.”
She also says while the labor supply may be short, but it should be manageable.
“Everything that I have heard is, you know, that if it’s going to be short, it won’t be terrible, you know, maybe 90 percent of normal or so. So, not an awful shortage, but certainly people are going to be hustling.”
Lewison says most of the supply chain is up and running
“The thing to remember is that because the ag community on the whole is considered an essential service, and that includes everything from beekeepers to tree fruit producers to truckers to your local grocer. Everyone in the supply chain is doing everything they can to make sure that we, as a state, as a country, are going to continue to be fed and to function.”