(Washington, D.C.) The National Council of Agricultural Employers (NCAE) will be hosting a webinar focusing on farmworker tax issues. The webinar will be led by Bob Wunderle, CPA, MBA, Director of the La Posada Tax Clinic in Twin Falls, Idaho. The webinar will begin at 2pm ET/11am PT on Thursday, July 14, 2022.

“Agricultural employers need to be aware of some of the unique payroll and income tax considerations regarding their employees,” noted Michael Marsh, President and CEO of NCAE. “This webinar will cover and attempt to answer employer questions regarding those considerations. We will dive into what employers should be thoughtful of as they properly account for the tax requirements of domestic and Temporary H-2A farmworkers.”

According to the most recent Census of Agriculture published by the USDA, 2.4 million hired agricultural workers are employed on America’s farms and ranches. This fiscal year an estimated 317,000 temporary foreign workers will work alongside domestic workers in U.S. fields, orchards, groves, barns, vineyards, and pastures. It takes a lot of hands to ensure domestic food security. Proper accounting for payroll and income taxes is an imperative for agricultural employers.

“NCAE’s members are committed to the ethical treatment of our employees and do so with integrity,” said Marsh. “Proper tax treatment of their payroll is a critical step in that ethical treatment and a necessity for employer compliance. We are thrilled that someone as knowledgeable about farmworker tax issues as Bob Wunderle is available to assist agricultural employers in that compliance.”

Participants will be eligible to receive one Professional Development Credit from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) upon completion of the webinar. Registration for this important event is available at ncaeonline.org.

NCAE is the national trade association focusing on agricultural labor issues from the employer’s viewpoint.

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H-2A Temporary Ag Worker Demand Surges

May 18, 2022

For Immediate Release

Contact:           Michael Marsh, President and CEO

                        (202) 629-9320

H-2A Temporary Ag Worker Demand Surges

(Washington, D.C.) Recently released data from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) reflects surging demand for temporary agricultural employees under the H-2A program.  DOL data for the first two quarters of Fiscal Year 2022 indicate that program applications increased 17.5% over the previous Fiscal Year.  At the same time, the total number of jobs certified by DOL’s Office of Foreign Labor Certification (OFLC) for the same period jumped 16.5% to 193,273, for the first two quarters.

“Similar to other sectors of the U.S. economy, agricultural employers face an exceptional shortage of workers as America recovers from the pandemic,” noted Michael Marsh, President and CEO of NCAE.  “Farm and ranch families need help filling these good paying temporary jobs that, on average, pay more than twice the federal minimum wage.  Although employers advertise and recruit heavily to attract U.S. workers into these positions, the dwindling number of domestic applicants for these temporary positions has led to explosive growth in the number of temporary foreign workers needed to plant, nurture, and harvest food for our nation.” 

Last fiscal year, more than 258,000 temporary foreign workers received H-2A visas to fill the more than 317,000 farm and ranch jobs for which no qualified, willing, and available domestic workers could be recruited.  This was an increase of approximately 21% in the number of temporary foreign workers employed in the prior fiscal year in 2020.

“Despite the significant added costs and regulations ag employers must face if they participate in the program, farm and ranch employers find themselves increasingly having to turn to filling some of the 2.4 million hired U.S. agricultural jobs reported by the USDA with temporary workers coming from outside our borders,” said Marsh. “This is a national security issue because a nation unable to feed and clothe itself is not secure.”

NCAE is the national trade association focusing on agricultural labor issues from the employer’s viewpoint.

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NCAE Announces “Mitigating Heat Stress and Increasing Productivity” Webinar

(Washington, DC) – The National Council of Agricultural Employers (NCAE) is pleased to announce the next installment of its educational webinar series, “Mitigating Heat Stress and Increasing Productivity.” 

“In anticipation of climbing temperatures later this spring and into the summer, NCAE and its members continue the organization’s commitment to the health and safety of America’s essential farmworkers,” said Michael Marsh, President and CEO. “This webinar extends NCAE’s commitment to our collaborative efforts with the National Center for Farmworker Health (NCFH) in protecting worker safety and well-being.  The event will put front and center how agricultural employers can protect their employees in the face of changing environmental conditions.”

“Mitigating Heat Stress and Increasing Productivity” will be hosted by Bethany Boggess Alcauter, PhD.  Bethany is the Director of Evaluation & National Agricultural Worker Health Program with the NCFH.  Participants will have an opportunity to engage with Dr. Alcauter about strategies that they can employ on their farms and ranches to keep their workers safe from the impacts of rising temperatures.

The “Mitigating Heat Stress and Increasing Productivity” webinar featuring Dr. Alcauter is scheduled for Thursday, April 28th at 1:00 pm EDT/10:00 am PDT. Participants will be eligible to receive one Professional Development Credit from the Society for Human Resource Management upon completion of the webinar.

Marsh noted, “Our educational and compliance webinars are extremely popular and typically fill up very quickly. Please register as soon as possible to ensure you secure your spot in this important discussion.”

Those interested in attending NCAE’s “Mitigating Heat Stress and Increasing Productivity” webinar may register here: http://www.ncaeonline.org/resources/webinars/.

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February 14, 2022

For Immediate Release

Contact:           Michael Marsh, President and CEO

(202) 629-9320

NCAE Meets with Mexican Embassy on COVID Vaccinations

(Washington, D.C.) The National Council of Agricultural Employers (NCAE) recently met with officials at the Mexican Embassy in Washington, D.C., to discuss vaccination issues impacting agricultural workers traveling to the United States.  The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a regulation effective January 22, 2022, requiring individuals, including essential H-2A Temporary Agricultural Workers, to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 prior to transit into the U.S.  Mexico is the largest provider of H-2A to U.S. farms and ranches.

“We have heard iterative reports from our members of the difficulties they are having locating potential workers in Mexico who have been vaccinated with an appropriate CDC/WHO approved vaccine,” noted Michael Marsh, President and CEO of NCAE.  “There are challenges for American farmers and ranchers with the Biden Administration’s recent requirement that essential workers seeking to transit to temporary seasonal agricultural jobs in the U.S. must provide proof of being fully vaccinated with a CDC/WHO approved vaccine.  It appears, based on reports from our members, that provision of non-CDC/WHO approved vaccines was ubiquitous in rural agricultural areas of Mexico from where many temporary H-2A workers are recruited.”

Last fiscal year, more than 258,000 temporary foreign workers received H-2A visas to fill the more than 317,000 farm and ranch jobs for which no qualified, willing, and available domestic workers could be recruited.  This set a record both in the number of jobs certified and visas issued.  Data released this morning by the U.S. Department of Labor DOL reflect a 22.1% increase in the number of petitions received in the first quarter of FY 2022 over FY 2021.  Approved positions were up 5.5% according to the DOL report.

According to Marsh, “The officials at the Mexican Embassy are very concerned regarding any disruption in the flow of Temporary H-2A Agricultural Workers coming into the United States.  They recognize the remittances these essential workers bring home with them transform the workers’ communities.  This financial flow can allow the returning workers to build homes and send their children to school, dramatically improving lives in rural Mexico.”

“The Government of Mexico is interested in assuring that a shortage of available essential workers does not hinder this beneficial relationship and agreed to continue sharing information with NCAE in a collaborative approach,” said Marsh

NCAE is the national trade association focusing on agricultural labor issues from the employer’s viewpoint.

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February 7, 2022

For Immediate Release

Contact:           Michael Marsh, President and CEO

(202) 629-9320

NCAE Partners with Labormex to Locate CDC/WHO Approved Vaccines in Mexico

(Washington, D.C.) The National Council of Agricultural Employers (NCAE) has partnered with longtime member Labormex to locate CDC/WHO approved vaccines in Mexico for H-2A Temporary Workers.  Mexico is the largest provider of H-2A Temporary Agricultural Workers to U.S. farms and ranches.

“Last year, NCAE members invested heavily to get farmworkers vaccinated when COVID-19 vaccines became available here in the U.S.,” noted Michael Marsh, President and CEO of NCAE.  “However, there are several challenges for American farmers and ranchers with the Biden Administration’s recent requirement that, effective January 22, 2022, all essential workers seeking to transit to temporary seasonal agricultural jobs in the U.S. must first provide proof of being fully vaccinated with a CDC/WHO approved vaccine.”

According to Marsh, “Last season, thousands of workers returned home at the conclusion of their contracts prior to vaccines being made widely available here in the U.S.  Even though many temporary workers received the vaccine in clinics set up around the country, not all did.  It appears much of the vaccine made available to potential workers in rural areas of Mexico are not CDC/WHO approved vaccines, even though the U.S. donated millions of doses.”

Last fiscal year, more than 258,000 temporary foreign workers received H-2A visas to fill the more than 317,000 farm and ranch jobs for which no qualified, willing, and available domestic workers could be recruited.  This was an increase of approximately 21% in the number of temporary foreign workers employed in the prior fiscal year.  Early data from the U.S. Department of Labor indicates FY 2022 will reflect a new record demand for temporary seasonal H-2A workers.

“A consequence of the Administration’s regulation is that supply chain maladies created by the pandemic are likely to be aggravated by this requirement.  We have had quite a number of reports of potential workers being frustrated in their attempts to acquire CDC/WHO approved vaccines,” said Marsh.  “This is why we have searched for in-country strategies to overcome the challenge that too few approved vaccines have been provided to H-2A eligible workers in Mexico.”

According to Lydia Hock, President of Labormex, “We collect information from the potential employers and connect the workers with Mexican government health services that have access to approved vaccines necessary for transit to the U.S.  We’re excited to have the opportunity to partner with NCAE and provide this critical service to America’s farm and ranch employers.  Not only is the H-2A program an imperative for necessary agricultural labor, but it also positively transforms the communities from whence these temporary workers live.”

NCAE is the national trade association focusing on agricultural labor issues from the employer’s viewpoint.

 

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January 31, 2022

For Immediate Release

Contact:           Michael Marsh, President and CEO

(202) 629-9320

NCAE Partners with AgConex to Source CDC/WHO Approved Vaccines in Mexico

(Washington, D.C.) The National Council of Agricultural Employers (NCAE) has partnered with AgConex to source CDC/WHO approved vaccines in Mexico for H-2A Temporary Workers.  Mexico is the largest provider of H-2A Temporary Agricultural Workers to U.S. farms and ranches.

“Last season, NCAE members worked diligently to get farmworkers vaccinated when vaccines became available here in the U.S.,” noted Michael Marsh, President and CEO of NCAE.  “However, there are several challenges for American farmers and ranchers with the Biden Administration’s recent requirement that, effective January 22, 2022, all essential workers seeking to transit to temporary seasonal agricultural jobs in the U.S. must first provide proof of being fully vaccinated with a CDC/WHO approved vaccine against COVID-19.”

According to Marsh, “Last season, thousands of workers returned home at the conclusion of their contracts prior to vaccines being made widely available to the public here in the U.S.  Even though many temporary workers received the vaccine in clinics set up around the country, not all did.  And although the U.S. donated millions of doses of vaccine to Mexico, it appears much of the vaccine made available to potential workers in rural areas of Mexico are not CDC/WHO approved vaccines.”

Last fiscal year, more than 258,000 temporary foreign workers received H-2A visas to fill the more than 317,000 farm and ranch jobs for which no qualified, willing, and available domestic workers could be recruited.  This was an increase of approximately 21% in the number of temporary foreign workers employed in the prior fiscal year.  Early data from the U.S. Department of Labor indicates the FY 2021 record demand for temporary seasonal H-2A workers will be eclipsed this year.

“The unintended consequence of the Administration’s regulation is that supply chain infirmities created by the pandemic are likely to be exacerbated by this requirement.  We have had several reports already of potential workers being stymied in their attempts to acquire CDC/WHO approved vaccinations,” said Marsh.  “This is the reason we have searched for an in-country option to mitigate the reality that too few approved vaccines have been provided to H-2A eligible workers in Mexico.”

According to Grant Thompson, President of AgConex, “The employer typically provides us a list that includes contact information for the workers.  Our customer service people in Mexico contact the employees directly (by phone or email) to help them schedule a vaccination.  We’re excited to have this opportunity to partner with NCAE and help solve this challenge for America’s farm and ranch families.”

AgConex is a Company Headquartered in Boise, ID, that has created a call center specifically to assist growers with testing and vaccination services in Mexico.

NCAE is the national trade association focusing on agricultural labor issues from the employer’s viewpoint.

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October 27, 2021

For Immediate Release

Contact:           Michael Marsh, President and CEO

(202) 629-9320

Bold Agenda Set for NCAE Ag Labor Forum

(Washington, D.C.) The National Council of Agricultural Employers (NCAE) announced today its blockbuster agenda for the Annual Ag Labor Forum which will be held December 1 – 3, 2021, at the beautiful M Resort just outside Las Vegas.  NCAE’s annual event brings together key thought leaders in agricultural employment and labor from across the United States.  It is the event you do not want to miss if you have any connection to how America’s food is produced.

“This year’s agenda is terrific, and our speakers are leaders in their respective fields,” noted Michael Marsh, President and CEO.  “This 2021 Forum will provide attendees, among other things, a peek behind the curtain as to what the Biden Administration and the 117th Congress have in store for agricultural employers.  We will also unpack new and proposed regulations so the audience can get a head start on compliance.”

COVID-19 has impacted every sector of the US economy and farmers and ranchers have not been exempt.  One of the sessions will uncover what that economic impact meant to agriculture in 2021 and seek to shed some light on what to expect in 2022.

Recent ransomware attacks on agricultural enterprises will be discussed.  Forum participants will have an opportunity to learn what they can do to harden their operations so as not to be a target of malicious actors.

Users, and potential users, of the H-2A program will get to hear from experts on two innovative program tracks (H-2A 101 for participants new to the program and H-2A Advanced Topics for more seasoned users).  Any new pronouncements on Adverse Effect Wage Rates (AEWR) will be dissected as AEWR impacts on all US agricultural wages are profound.

Government officials will be on hand to discuss compliance with requirements of the Department of Labor’s Office of Foreign Labor Certification and the Wage and Hour Division.  The State Department will discuss the latest from foreign consulates and importantly, from Mission Mexico and Mission Guatemala.  Commissioner Sonderling from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission will update the Forum on what he sees in agriculture and how employers can enhance their compliance.

The Agricultural Safety and Health Council of America (ASHCA) will do a deep dive on safety issues on the farm and what to expect from OSHA and Cal-OSHA.  And, as usual with NCAE programs, much of the content will be eligible for continuing education credit from the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM).

“Limited sponsorship opportunities remain for this event that reaches hundreds of attendees,” said Marsh.  “Of course, NCAE Members receive a significant discount off registration fees and the event provides nonmembers a “look under the hood” of the battles NCAE successfully wages in the Congress and with federal agencies.  This is a must-attend event!”

Registration, the program agenda, and NCAE’s discounted room block, can be accessed by going to www.ncaeonline.org

NCAE is the national trade association focusing on agricultural labor issues from the employer’s viewpoint.

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September 1, 2021

For Immediate Release

Contact: Michael Marsh, President and CEO
(202) 629-9320

NCAE Files Inquiry with USDA

(Washington, D.C.) The National Council of Agricultural Employers (NCAE) filed an inquiry yesterday with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).   The Council has asked for response to questions and concerns regarding the USDA’s Annual Farm Labor Survey (FLS).

The FLS is used by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) to establish the mandatory minimum wages agricultural employers must pay to workers employed under the H-2A Temporary Agricultural Worker Visa program as well as any domestic workers employed in corresponding employment.  These mandatory minimum wages, referred to as the Adverse Effect Wage Rates (AEWRs) in the DOL regulations, are intended to prevent an adverse effect on domestic workers due to the employment of temporary foreign H-2A workers.

The federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour.  The average AEWR required to be paid in the U.S. in 2021 under the H-2A program has been $14.62.

“Our members have become increasingly alarmed by the ever deepening disconnect from the market for agricultural labor and the results of the FLS used by the Department of Labor (DOL) to establish the AEWRs,” noted Michael Marsh NCAE President and CEO in the letter to Secretary Vilsack.  “Alarm over this disconnect has also been expressed by cooperative extension specialists, agricultural lenders, agricultural economists, and others with expertise in analysis of labor markets.”

The Council’s letter notes that the impact of this disconnect between the FLS results and U. S. labor markets is hindering U. S. agricultural production and creating new opportunities for foreign competitors to expand their displacement of U. S. produced agricultural products in the market.  Today over one-half of the fresh fruit and more than one-third of the fresh vegetables consumed in America are produced in another country.  This circumstance is making U. S. agriculture less sustainable in global markets and forcing U.S. families to be ever more reliant upon foreign producers for their food. The Council’s inquiry also points out that the forfeit of America’s food production capability to foreign competitors jeopardizes U. S. national security.

Marsh stated that, “NCAE has repeatedly petitioned the DOL to make the determination required by statute as to whether an adverse effect is visited upon domestic workers due to the employment of Temporary H-2A Agricultural Workers necessitating the imposition of AEWRs. The DOL has failed to entertain the petitioned for determination to the peril of U. S. agriculture.  Our inquiry seeks to find the reasons for this staggering disconnect so we can find a solution that allows American farmers and ranchers to again feed our nation.”

NCAE is the national trade association focusing on agricultural labor issues from the employer’s viewpoint.

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June 21, 2021

For Immediate Release

Contact: Michael Marsh, President and CEO
(202) 629-9320

NCAE Announces Opportunity to Vaccinate H-2A Temporary Ag Workers

(Washington, D.C.) The National Council of Agricultural Employers (NCAE) announced today that the Council’s ongoing collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has resulted in another opportunity to protect farmworkers from COVID-19.

“Earlier this year, NCAE members participated with the CDC in a pilot project to test H-2A workers for COVID and quarantine infected workers in Mexico prior to transiting to their temporary jobs in the States,” noted Michael Marsh, President and CEO. “This pilot project was successful in identifying not only a very low incidence of infection (1.3% based on preliminary data), but also an opportunity to collaborate to protect farmworker health and protect U.S. public health.”

Capitalizing on this previous partnership, the CDC has notified NCAE that the County of San Diego is providing free COVID-19 vaccines to H-2A workers crossing into the U.S. from Tijuana, Mexico at vaccination sites near the U.S.-Mexico border. The Johnson and Johnson vaccine will be offered, but the Pfizer-BioNTech or another vaccine may be offered upon request by a worker and depending on its availability.
“The safety of essential farmworkers is of paramount importance to agricultural employers and NCAE is very excited by this new opportunity to assist farm and ranch families in protecting the workers who feed and clothe us from this deadly pandemic while protecting public health at the same time,” said Marsh.
Agricultural employers interested in participating in this vaccine pilot program should email NCAE’s Manager of Association Services Nigel Bocanegra at nigel@ncaeonline.org for details on how to participate.

NCAE is the national trade association focusing on agricultural labor issues from the employer’s viewpoint.

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