USDA report provides H-2A usage snapshot
A recently released report from the USDA’s Economic Research Service suggests freezing the minimum wage for H-2A workers could impact wages of both H-2A and domestic workers.
Michael Marsh is with the National Council of Ag Employers.
“Unfortunately what we’re seeing is a steady spiraling out of control of the adverse effect wage rate forcing more and more businesses to locate overseas,” he says.
He tells Brownfield that makes the United States more dependent on imports of foreign food, “and that jeopardizes our national security.”
In March 2021, the U.S. House approved the Farm Workforce Modernization Act, which would freeze the Adverse Effect Wage Rate for one year. USDA estimates the freeze would save $140 million annually in wage costs for H-2A workers and $29 million in annual wages for the more than 50,000 U.S. domestic workers on farms with H-2A workers.
Florida, Georgia, Washington, and California are the top users of the program, while the West Coast and Midwest states pay the highest wages.
Domestic workers with “corresponding employment” on farms with H-2A workers must be paid the same rates.