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“A good laugh is like manure to a farmer — it doesn’t do any good until you spread it around.”

— Michael Pritchard

Regulatory Actions:

Immigrant farm workers would receive a raft of new protections under a Biden administration proposal to be announced Tuesday, which would boost safety requirements on farms and raise transparency around how such workers are brought to the U.S., to combat human trafficking.

The U.S. Department of Labor today proposed a new rule that would strengthen protections for farm workers in the H-2A program and help prevent abuses that undermine wages and standards for all agricultural workers.

Temporary farmworkers would get added employment protections and the US Department of Labor would be able to take swifter action against employers that violate the rules, under new proposed regulations from the agency.

The US Department of Labor is leaning on unions and collective action to improve protections for foreign farmworkers, with the idea that their increased ability to advocate for better working conditions is essential to helping US workers as well.

Legislative Actions:

The head of the U.S. Department of Labor took an indirect swipe at Florida’s tough new immigration law Wednesday, warning in a visit to Miami that “anti-immigrant policies are exacerbating employers’ challenges in finding workers” and exposing existing workers to more risk.

H-2 and Other Worker Status Issues:

Nick Schweitzer has watched costs climb at his family’s 200-acre apple farm in West Michigan.

In any business, the tough times either make or break a team.

Workers line up in front of an Intermex wire transfer desk in the lobby of the Fairbridge Inn on North First Street.

Since recovering from the 2020 recession, the U.S. has had more job openings than people willing to fill them.


It seems like grain bins have always dotted the landscape across the American Midwest. Actually, they’ve been around for 150 years.

Mark Hines’s workday starts while the sun sets, when the grass grows heavy with dew and the bugs are as loud as they are close.

As high temperatures continue to scorch Florida, a major Florida-based farmworkers group is imploring major retailers, like Publix, to protect workers from the record-breaking heat wave.

Immigration Reform:

Utah has one of the fastest growing economies in the United States, but the ability to build, serve, feed and house its citizens is in real jeopardy.

NCAE this Week:

The House and Senate were in this week as they stare down a government funding deadline at the end of the month. 
The possibility of a government shutdown is drawing closer and, for those NCAE members who use the H-2A program, a shutdown means that the DOL agency that provides certification would close until the government reopens. State Department processing would continue as would US Citizenship and Immigration Services work but, with a shutdown being promoted by House Freedom Caucus members, those agencies would not have certified workers to process for visas. 
The Department of Labor issued a new proposed rule this week on worker protections that stretches to 327 pages. Some of the proposal is duplicative of efforts and activities employers are already engaged in. However, it seems as if most of it is a solution in search of a problem and looks as if they lifted much of it from the anti-farmer activist handbook. 
Divorced from the reality of the program, some of the proposals are offensive and belie the Department’s own data. According to DOL’s data, 5% of the employers investigated by Wage and Hour account for 95% of violations. Consequently, this proposal is akin to attacking a gnat with a sledgehammer and would leave good operators slain in its wake. 
Further, this proposal seems to be an end run around the U.S. Supreme Court’s 6-3 decision in Cedar Point Nursery v. Hassid (2021) which held that a labor regulation allowing union representatives to visit private farmland was a per se violation of the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. NCAE will be developing a comment template of this regulation to share with members. 
Registration is now open for NCAE’s 10th Annual Ag Labor Forum. Please let us know if you have questions or would like to sponsor this must attend event.  
Have a great weekend! 

News articles and citations of interest for week ending 2023/09/15:


As a self-started, small farmer of alfalfa hay for four years, I know firsthand the problems that are caused by overregulation of agriculture.

A new state immigration law could worsen labor shortages in South Florida’s agricultural industry, a sector that heavily relies on migrant labor and struggles to find domestic workers, according to growers, immigrant workers and farmworker advocates.

Enrique Balcazar remembers the disillusionment he felt the day he arrived in Vermont from Mexico to work on a dairy farm for the first time.

The National Council of Agricultural Employers has announced the opening of registration for its 10th annual Ag Labor Forum.


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