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“The truth of the matter is that you always know the right thing to do. The hard part is doing it.”

— Norman Schwarzkopf

NCAE News, Legal/Technical & Other Employer Issues

Last year, three workers sued a Branch County farm and its parent company in federal court, but now the lawsuit may expand.

Regulatory Actions:

During Wednesday night’s debate in Miami, the Presidential candidates were right to hold Biden accountable for manufacturing the worst border crisis in American history.

The state’s Agricultural Workers Minimum Wage Committee, convened by Gov. Janet Mills, will meet Monday to report on what they learned during listening sessions with farm employers.

Republicans are calling on the Biden administration to withdraw a rule reforming the H-2A agricultural worker visa program — claiming that it is a “giveaway to Big Labor” and infringes on the property rights of farmers.

The U.S. Department of Labor assessed two North Carolina employers $139,039 in penalties after its investigation found they victimized non-immigrant farmworkers by shortchanging 65 workers’ wages, and by trying to intimidate and seizing their passports.

A U.S. Department of Labor rule change that would allow foreign agricultural workers to form unions encouraged 23 state attorneys general to create a coalition in opposition.

Legislative Actions:

One U.S. House of Representatives committee released an interim report on the federal H-2A program and the challenges facing domestic producers in securing foreign labor.

From row crop operations to dairies, finding good workers is a problem facing thousands of farmers across the country and the challenge continues to worsen.

H-2 and Other Worker Status Issues:

The Department of Homeland Security has published lists of countries whose nationals will be eligible for the H-2A and H-2B visa programs in the upcoming year.

National Coalition of Agricultural Employers CEO Michael Marsh is working to turn back a Department of Labor ruling that requires an employee to be paid the base wage for the highest paying task they perform for the duration of their contract.

Following her conversation with Michigan specialty crop producers, Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Holly) will hop on the phone and call the Department of Labor.

Southeastern specialty crop growers have been seeking reform in farm labor policy for many years.

If the federal government wants to fine your business into oblivion, you might think it would have to take you to a federal court where you would get to make your case in front of a jury.

The USDA is seeking reviewers to evaluate grant applications submitted under the Farm Labor Stabilization and Protection Pilot Program.


As the sun dipped toward the horizon, pulling the last streaks of daylight from the sky over North Carolina’s capital city, dozens of migrant workers raised flickering tealights.

Political Updates:

The U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday passed a temporary spending bill that would avert a government shutdown, with broad support from lawmakers in both parties.

NCAE this Week:

The House and the Senate were in for most of this week.
The House passed, with majority Democrat support, a “laddered” continuing resolution (CR). Importantly, after the Senate passed the legislation and President Biden passed it, a government shutdown will be avoided after midnight tonight. However, two new deadlines for potential shutdowns of different federal agencies were “laddered” into the legislation. The new deadlines for passage of spending legislation to avoid this will be on January 19 and February 2, 2024. Hopefully, the Congress will soon get their act together.
We spent part of the week at the Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association Labor Forum in Tifton, Georgia. Experts, many of them NCAE members, participated in sharing insights as to many of the challenging issues facing agricultural employers. The attendees were engaged and asked great questions.
The comment period closed on DOL’s pejorative NPRM this week. The proposal took many swipes at agricultural employers and was replete with unlawful and unconstitutional new regulations. Sadly, I have little hope that commonsense will prevail in the comment review process and a rule protective of farmworkers and employers will emerge. 
NCAE is working on comments for DHS’ new rule ahead of the Monday deadline for filing those comments. 
NCAE’s 10th Annual Ag Labor Forum has sold out all of the rooms in its block even after the significant expansion that was negotiated this year. Alternative lodging may be found at the nearby South Point Resort. The trade show has sold out as well as attendees look forward to this terrific event scheduled to start on November 29th at the M Resort outside Las Vegas. We’re looking forward to welcoming everyone to this terrific event!
Have a great weekend and a Happy Thanksgiving!

News articles and citations of interest for week ending 2023/11/17:


Workers at a Stanislaus County tomato farm and packing company are the first to successfully unionize under a new California law making it easier for farmworkers to organize, the United Farm Workers said today.

County officials in Wisconsin approved reforms this week meant to respond to a ProPublica report on the flawed investigation into the 2019 death of a Nicaraguan boy on a dairy farm.

There are many benefits to adolescents working in agriculture, but there also are risks, especially when youth are assigned jobs beyond their capabilities.

Dusk brought deep blue to the eastern Washington skies as a small group of mushroom farm workers gathered in the back of a McDonald’s.

Agriculture Robots Market is projected to surpass USD 80 billion by 2032, according to the latest report by Global Market Insights Inc.


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