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Farm Labor Stabilization and Protection Pilot Grant Program

Farmworkers picking strawberriesUSDA is offering a new grant program focused on addressing labor shortages in agriculture, reducing irregular migration through expansion of legal pathways, and improving labor protections for farmworkers. The grant program will use up to $65 million in American Rescue Plan Act funding to provide support for agricultural employers in implementing robust labor standards to promote a safe, healthy work environment for both U.S. workers and workers hired from Northern Central American countries under the seasonal H-2A visa program. 

USDA Seeks Input on New Grant Program to Strengthen Food Supply Chain, Reduce Irregular Migration, and Improve Labor Protections for Farmworkers

FSA is gathering input to help shape a new grant program focused on addressing irregular migration through expansion of legal pathways, and improving labor protections for farmworkers. As part of gathering input, FSA will hold three virtual listening sessions, geared toward specific audiences on Wednesday September 28th & Thursday, September 29th.

How to Attend: Participants are asked to register: 

  • Agricultural Employer Organizations - Wed, Sept. 28 at 11 am Register here
  • Labor Unions - Wed, Sept. 28 at 2 pm Register here
  • Farmworker Advocacy Community - Thurs, Sept. 29 at 2 pm Register here

Simultaneous interpretation in Spanish will be available at all listening sessions.

FSA will also consider comments received by 30 days after the date of publication in the Federal Register. Find more details in the Sept. 21 notice on the Federal Register or on fsa.usda.gov/farmworkers

Attendees are encouraged to submit written comments prior to the listening sessions. Visit  https://www.regulations.gov and search for Docket ID FSA-2022-0013 and follow instructions for submitting comments.

FSA Seeking Input 

FSA is gathering input to help shape a new grant program focused on addressing labor shortages in agriculture, reducing irregular migration through expansion of legal pathways, and improving labor protections for farmworkers. As part of gathering input, FSA will hold three virtual listening sessions. 

Agricultural Employer Organizations

FSA will hold a listening session for agricultural employer organizations on Wednesday, Sept. 28 at 11 a.m. ET. Register here.

FSA seeks input on:  

  • Challenges that employers face in securing a stable workforce. 
  • The set of incentives employers seek from USDA in order to improve their ability to hire workers from northern Central American countries under the seasonal H-2A visa program.  
  • The labor standards that will make meaningful progress towards ensuring a safer and fairer working environment for both domestic and H-2A farmworkers.  

Labor Unions and Farmworker Advocacy Community

FSA will hold a listening session for labor unions on Wednesday, Sept. 28 at 2 p.m. ET. Register here.

FSA will hold a listening session for the broader farmworker advocacy community on Thursday, Sept. 29 at 2 p.m. ET. Register here.

From both groups, FSA seeks input on:

  • Barriers or challenges faced by farmworkers, specifically those from northern Central American countries participating in the H-2A visa program.
  • Recommendations to enhance farmworker protections and to increase farmworker awareness of resources and worker rights. 

Additional Details

Attendees will be able to register for whichever listening session they feel best fit the perspectives they are able to offer.  We ask that attendees register for one of the three listening sessions.

Attendees are encouraged to provide written comments prior to the listening session, which are submitted through regulations.gov. 

Additional details can be found in the September 21, 2022 notice on the Federal Register. 

More on the Grant Program 
The program will aim to improve the resiliency of our food and agricultural supply chain and advance several major Administration priorities: 

  • Driving U.S. economic recovery and safeguarding domestic food security by addressing current labor shortages in agriculture. Even before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, agricultural employers were struggling to secure a stable workforce. The pandemic has only exacerbated this problem, threatening our domestic capacity to produce a safe and robust food supply. This pilot program will help address this shortage by expanding the potential pool of workers.
  • Reducing irregular migration through the expansion of legal pathways. The Biden-Harris Administration has taken numerous steps to address the elevated levels of irregular migration from Northern Central America. The H-2A visa program offers a lawful pathway for individuals from these countries to come to the United States to engage in temporary or seasonal agricultural work. An effective H-2A visa program is critical to the resiliency of the food and agricultural supply chain. This pilot program will aim to address challenges that both workers and employers face in utilizing the program.
  • Improving working conditions for farmworkers. Strong working conditions are critical to the resiliency of the food and agricultural supply chain. Through this pilot program, USDA will support efforts to improve working conditions for both U.S. and H-2A workers and ensure that H-2A workers are not subjected to unfair recruitment practices.

H-2A Visa Program 
Are you a farmer who needs seasonal or temporary workers for planting, cultivating, and harvesting crops but domestic workers are in short supply? Learn more

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