The Citrus Expo saw a general session panel discussion that explored proposed changes to the H-2A Foreign Guest Worker Program.

The H-2A Foreign Guest Worker Program may be seeing some changes for the better, according to Natalie Gupton, the director of business services and industry relations for AgSafe, in a Citrus Industry article summarizing a panel discussion from The Citrus Expo. The event offered the latest on citrus research, policy, and more. She shared that the H-2A program is “a program that’s growing exponentially nationwide. Florida has been a huge user of the program for many years.” The panel included a grower representative, a labor attorney, and a federal Department of Labor (DOL) regional director. Explore the changes below.

Changes to the H-2A Foreign Guest Worker Program

Gupton shared that a notice of proposed rulemaking for the program has been issued, and that they are “nothing too drastic, but then there’s some great changes that could make the program much more user friendly.”

The biggest change that would potentially make the program easier to navigate is the “50 percent rule.” Gupton shared that, “As the rule stands, you have a contract period for your H-2A workers.” For half of that time—or 50 percent—”if a domestic worker shows up and says he wants to work for you, you have to hire (him). And that can be quite cumbersome when you’re in the middle of a harvest season,” she explained.

Additionally, another proposed change will let growers adjust the times when different numbers of H-2A workers are utilized, according to Gupton, “because your needs vary across the growing season.”

Griffin Fertilizer is committed to helping both growers and ranchers make sound agronomic and economic decisions in order to maximize the health of their grove and pasture. As a full-service custom dry & liquid fertilizer blender and crop protection product distributor, we will continue our mission to further advance Florida agriculture. For questions or concerns about your farm or pasture, contact us and one of our team will be in touch.