Understanding the Farm Labor Shortage in America

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Understanding the Farm Labor Shortage in America

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The United States is one of the largest agricultural producers globally. The agricultural industry in the country contributes nearly $1.053 trillion to the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP). The agricultural sector plays a key role in the food supply chain and the prosperity of manufacturing industries. It’s responsible for the provision of raw materials for industries such as vegetable oil production, textile industries, tobacco industries, sugar industries, and jute businesses.

The agricultural industry, however, depends heavily on human resources. Labor is one of the primary inputs in agricultural production. In recent years, however, America has observed a substantial decline in the number of agricultural workers.

Here’s a list of some reasons why America has been facing chronic labor shortage crises for four consecutive years.


1.    Unavailability of Job Candidates

In America, the average age of farm laborers is 60. That is to say, the senior generation makes up a major part of agricultural workers in the country. They are, however, heading towards retirement and farmers need to look for young candidates for the job.

Most farmers want to offer jobs to local candidates but they don’t receive enough applications. The youth typically avoids farming as a career because agricultural jobs require extensive physical work and fewer job benefits. Instead, they prefer to work in less demanding jobs in other manufacturing industries.


2.    Immigration Policies


Almost 73% of agricultural laborers in America are immigrant farmworkers. America’s immigration policies and deportation rules are extremely strict, therefore, most farmworkers in the country are undocumented.

Farmworkers make significant contributions to the country’s economy, but they’re unable to claim the protection of their rights from their employer because of their unauthorized immigration status. Many live with the persistent fear and risk of deportation. This risk has led to a considerable decline in labor availability.

In addition to that, the US embassy and consulates in Mexico suspended consular and visa services due to Covid-19. This suspension also affected the number of laborers seeking to enter the US through the H-2A visa program for farmworkers.


3.    High Rates

With the continuous decline in the availability of farmworkers, farming costs and labor wages have significantly increased. The high rates have made it substantially difficult for farm laborers to expand their work operations and recruit more laborers.

On the other hand, the H-2A program also requires farmers to pay market-leading wages to the guest labors along with free transportation and housing facilities.


4.    The Bottom-line

All in all, it’s no secret that farmers need laborers to improve their farm’s productivity. The H-2A program’s requirements may feel intimidating at first but hiring a workforce through the H-2A program can benefit you in the longer run.

At Farm Aid H-2A LLC, we aim to help agricultural employers easily meet the H-2A requirements. Our H2A visa recruitment agents work with the Department of Labor to keep our clients updated with the immigration policies and modifications in the conditions for H-2A program certification. We’ll also handle the paperwork for you to save your time. Contact us if you want legal assistance and consultation for H2A placement.

Disclaimer: This blog is for educational purposes only.  It shouldn’t be used as a substitute for legal consultation.

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