United States Department of Agriculture Announces Plans to Invest Up to 65M Dollars in Pilot Program to Strengthen Food Supply Chain
WASHINGTON, DC - Twenty countries came together at the ninth Summit of the Americas, during which President Biden and other national leaders presented the Los Angeles Declaration on Migration and Protection. This Declaration was made predominantly to help solve migration issues and is organized around the following three pillars: stabilization, legal pathways and protections, and human migration management.
To address these challenges, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in coordination with the other federal agencies will develop a pilot program utilizing up to $65 million in American Rescue Plan funding to provide support for agricultural employers.
The might of the food and agriculture industries cannot be overstated, as the standing economic contribution of both stands at nearly $7 trillion. According to a release, these industries account for nearly one-fifth of our economic activity, directly contributing $2.7 trillion to the U.S. gross domestic product and supporting more than 40 million jobs. The key to the success of these industries is millions of farmworkers.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve seen how vital these workers are to our supply chain and food security. The USDA noted that the pandemic also spotlighted weak spots, such as labor instability, irregular migration, and the need for increased labor protections.
With the pilot program, $65 million will go toward implementing health and safety standards to promote a safe and healthy work environment for both U.S. workers and workers hired from Northern Central American countries under the seasonal H-2A visa program.
The release explained that the program will aim to improve the resiliency of our food and agricultural supply chain and advance several major Administration priorities, such as:
- Driving U.S. economic recovery and safeguarding domestic food security by addressing current labor shortages in agriculture.
- Reducing irregular migration through the expansion of legal pathways
- Improving working conditions for farmworkers
The USDA will also partner with the United Farm Workers of America (UFW) through a technical assistance cooperative agreement to inform USDA of the challenges faced by agricultural workers and to inform development of the pilot program.
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