Seed World

Rep. Newhouse Works to Improve Ag Labor Crisis

Dan Newhouse (R-Wash.) led the effort in the appropriations process to address agriculture’s labor crisis. Newhouse made two amendments in House Appropriations Committee markups of fiscal year 2018 government funding bills that would help reform the H-2A visa program.

The first would allow ag employers to use Section 514 housing for both domestic and H-2A workers where units are currently unoccupied. Section 514 provides loans to producers to buy, build or improve housing for farm workers but those admitted through H-2A are currently ineligible. The second would amend the H-2A program to allow employers to use it for work that is not temporary or seasonal. This would give producers with year-round labor needs a new option as they look to fill jobs on their farms.

Members of the Agricultural Workforce Coalition applauded Newhouse for his efforts.