November 19, 2021
H-2A Continues to Expand
The H-2A program allows US farm employers to fill seasonal jobs with H-2A guest workers after they try and fail to recruit US workers at DOL-specified wages. DOL must also determine that the presence of the H-2A workers will not adversely affect US workers.
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Record Border Apprehensions
A record 1.66 million foreigners were apprehended just inside the US border with Mexico in FY21, including 608,000 Mexicans, 309,000 Hondurans, 279,000 Guatemalans, 96,000 Salvadorans, and 367,000 other foreigners such as Haitians, Venezuelans, Ecuadorans, Cubans, and Brazilians. Apprehensions include persons encountered between ports of entry and those detected at ports of entry using false documents or concealed in vehicles.
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Washington: $10 billion farm sales in 2017
Washington’s 36,000 farms reported sales of $9.6 billion in the 2017 Census of Agriculture. Most farms are small; 30,000 had sales of less than $100,000 in 2020, while 1,450 farms each had sales of $1 million or more.
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Pennsylvania Agriculture and Labor
Pennsylvania had almost 53,000 farms in 2019, including 1,325 or 2.5 percent that had sales of $1 million or more. Over 10 percent of the state’s farms are in Lancaster county, including almost a quarter of the state’s 6,900 dairies, 10 percent of the state’s 23,000 cattle farms, and a seventh of the state’s 11,000 poultry farms.
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Strawberries: Growth and Labor
Few agricultural commodities can match the success of fresh berries. The four major berries, blackberries with a US farm value of $30 million in 2019, blueberries $900 million, red raspberries $450 million, and strawberries, $2.5 billion, generated revenue of almost $4 billion.
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October 19, 2021
H-2A: Growth and FLCs from 2010-19
The number of farm jobs certified by DOL to be filled with H-2A workers tripled between FY10 and FY19, from 79,000 to 258,000. The FLC share of job certifications also tripled from 15 percent to 42 percent. H-2A jobs are concentrated in fruits and vegetables, each accounts for a third of H-2A job certifications.
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BLS Projections: 2020 to 2030
DOL’s Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the size of the labor force and employment every two years. BLS in October 2021 released projections for the 2020-30 decade that emphasize that the aging and slower growing US population and labor force means that employment in the health care and social assistance industry will increase at the fastest rate.
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Mexico: Growth Slows, Export Ag Booms
Mexico’s economy expanded in summer 2021. However, with only a third of Mexicans fully vaccinated, the covid pandemic slowed economic and job growth. Mexico’s fresh fruit and vegetable exports to the US rose in 2020 and 2021, supporting a million year-round and seasonal jobs on Mexican farms that export most of what they produce. Another two million Mexicans are employed for wages on farms that produce for the Mexican domestic market, and a further two million Mexican-born workers are employed on US farms.
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Vegetables: Global Production and Trade
Vegetables are edible plant matter that, by culinary and cultural tradition, exclude most fruits, flowers, nuts, and cereal grains, but include savory fruits such as tomatoes, flowers such as broccoli, and seeds such as pulses. Vegetables can be eaten raw or cooked. Most vegetables are low in fat and carbohydrates and high in vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber.
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Fruit: Global Production and Trade
Fruits are the seed-bearing structures of flowering plants used to disseminate seeds, although most fruits that are consumed are bred to remove seeds. Most fruit is eaten raw. Some fruits are classified as vegetables, including tomatoes, cucumbers, and bell peppers. Simple fleshy fruits are often grouped into berries, stone fruits such as cherries and peaches, and pome fruits including apples and pears.
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