United States Department of Agriculture Launches Program to Support Ag Employers and Farmworkers; Tom Vilsack Discusses
WASHINGTON, DC - Recently, the Biden-Harris Administration announced agricultural employers can begin to apply for a pilot program designed to improve the resiliency of the food and agricultural supply chain by addressing workforce challenges farmers and ranchers face. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), in coordination with other federal agencies, is announcing up to $65 million in grants available for the Farm Labor Stabilization and Protection Pilot Program (FLSP Program).
“Our country is facing growing agriculture workforce challenges that jeopardize our farmers’ ability to be competitive; threaten the resiliency, abundance, and safety of our food system; and [have] repercussions on our overall economy. At the same time, record numbers of people are interested in living and working in the United States, including from Northern Central America,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “This pilot program has been designed with significant input from immigration, labor, and agricultural stakeholders in an effort to help address these immediate challenges.”
As noted in the release, the program will help address workforce needs in agriculture, promote a safe and healthy work environment for farmworkers, and support the expansion of lawful migration pathways for workers, including for workers from Northern Central America, through the Department of Labor’s seasonal H-2A visa program. Additionally, the program makes good on a commitment made and announced as part of the Los Angeles Declaration on Migration and Protection and is funded by President Biden’s American Rescue Plan.
“The program will provide incentives designed to simultaneously benefit workers and employers, with the potential to inform the H-2A program, raise labor standards for farmworkers, and help alleviate our agricultural workforce challenges over the long term,” continued Vilsack. “In addition to helping agricultural producers recruit and retain workers, at the end of the program, we will have tested new ways to promote accountability and improve working conditions for domestic and H-2A workers alike—demonstrating how employers benefit by doing right by workers. The effort will also facilitate safe, orderly, and humane migration. This pilot should be a win for everyone along the agricultural supply chain, from the field to the dinner table.”
The FLSP Program seeks to advance the following Administration priorities:
- Address current workforce needs in agriculture
- Reduce irregular migration, including from Northern Central America through the expansion of regular pathways
- Improve working conditions for farmworkers
For more information, click here.
ANUK will keep a pulse on the radar.