July-August - 40

AG LABOR REVIEW
An imperfect storm
S
ometimes when there is a powerful
earthquake or a volcanic eruption
under the ocean, a tsunami or tidal
wave is created.
I used to live in California and whenever I
drove through the northern coastal counties
I would see " Tsunami Hazard Zone " warning
signs that would direct travelers " In case
of earthquake go to high ground or inland. "
The sign depicts a person scrambling up a
steep cliff, closely followed by a huge wave.
American farm families know that feeling
all too well as the federal bureaucracy
continues to erupt and surges regulatory
tsunamis, one after another, upon them.
This hasn't occurred only during the
present administration, with some recent
regulations from the previous regime seeking to drown
out family farms and ranches.
NCAE is challenging in Federal District Court
two of these recently implemented regulatory tidal
waves. Both regulations were born during the prior
administration and target employers using the H-2A
Temporary Agricultural Worker program, who are
unable to find domestic workers who are ready, willing
and available to perform the jobs when needed.
The first suit involves opposition to significant
changes to the way the program is administered. Among
the changes that we object to is the elimination of
statistical rigor and validity for prevailing wage surveys
performed by state workforce agencies. Under this
same rule, the Department of Labor (DOL) ratcheted
up the coverage requirements for surety bonds that
farm labor contractors (FLCs) must possess to operate.
These additional coverage requirements come with a
significant cost, which are passed along to the farm and
ranch families who may have to employ the FLCs.
The apparent rationale, or lack thereof, for this
change is to ensure that assets are available to
compensate workers in the event the FLC does not pay
the workers as required. We understand that since the
initiation of these regulations in 1987, the DOL has had
to liquidate a surety bond one time to recover funds to
pay workers.
You read that correctly - this has happened once in
46 years! No wonder this change, and the enormous
additional cost, was needed.
The second case involves wages required to be paid
under the program, which is critically important to all
agricultural employers, whether they must use the H-2A
program or not. Wage rates impact the wages paid to all
40 | JULY/AUGUST 2023
workers and are responsible for pushing America's food
production offshore.
The DOL has misused a survey designed by USDA to
count the number of workers employed in agriculture
for years. NCAE has tried to stop this abuse by
repeatedly petitioning the DOL secretary to stop this
regulatory error. That's one part of the regulation we
are challenging.
The second part we are challenging is perhaps
more egregious. I almost felt sorry for the Justice
Department attorney charged with trying to defend this
to the court. Let me paint you a picture.
A grower has 20 workers: 10 domestic and 10 H-2A
workers. One of the H-2A workers has experience
driving a truck, with a wage of $15 per hour.
All the workers under the job order pull weeds and
harvest crops. The worker with driving experience
hops in the truck and drives it to and from the packing
shed for one hour of each 10-hour day. The new
regulation requires the worker be paid a wage that a
driver for Amazon or Walmart is paid. Let's assume it's
$25 per hour.
Here's the head scratching part: The driver is required
to be paid $25 per hour, for the entirety of the contract.
But wait, there's more.
When the driver rejoins the cohort in the field pulling
weeds or harvesting, the 10 domestic workers " become "
truck drivers and are required to be paid $25 per hour
for the whole contract, despite never climbing in the
truck cab.
Unfortunately for America's farm and ranch families,
there is no life jacket that will protect them from this
regulatory tsunami.
These are fights NCAE believes need to be fought.

July-August

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of July-August

Editor's Letter
Grower Profile: Central Florida leafy greens
GLVPN Veg Connection: Vegetable crop yields
Organic Grower
Ag Tech: Fields of drones
Plant & Soil Health: Fusarium wilt
Great Lakes EXPO News: Connecting growers through the digital market space
Farm Market & Agritourism: Agreements between growers provide additional opportunities
Ag Labor Review
Classifieds
Advertiser Index
July-August - 1
July-August - 2
July-August - 3
July-August - Editor's Letter
July-August - 5
July-August - Grower Profile: Central Florida leafy greens
July-August - 7
July-August - 8
July-August - 9
July-August - GLVPN Veg Connection: Vegetable crop yields
July-August - 11
July-August - 12
July-August - 13
July-August - 14
July-August - Organic Grower
July-August - 16
July-August - 17
July-August - 18
July-August - 19
July-August - 20
July-August - 21
July-August - 22
July-August - 23
July-August - 24
July-August - 25
July-August - 26
July-August - 27
July-August - 28
July-August - Ag Tech: Fields of drones
July-August - 30
July-August - 31
July-August - Plant & Soil Health: Fusarium wilt
July-August - 33
July-August - 34
July-August - 35
July-August - Great Lakes EXPO News: Connecting growers through the digital market space
July-August - 37
July-August - Farm Market & Agritourism: Agreements between growers provide additional opportunities
July-August - 39
July-August - Ag Labor Review
July-August - 41
July-August - Classifieds
July-August - Advertiser Index
July-August - 44
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https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/january-2024
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/buyers-guide-2024
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https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/february-2023
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/january-2023
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/december-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/buyers-guide-2023
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/november-2022
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https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/buyersguide-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/january-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/december-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/november-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/october-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/september-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/august-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/july-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/june-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/may-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/april-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/march-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/february-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/seedguide-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/buyersguide-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/january-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/december-2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/november-2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/october-2020
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https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/march-2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/february-2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/buyersguide-2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/january-2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/december-2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/november-2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/october-2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/september-2019
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https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/january-2019
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