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Rural Migration Blog

May 2022

The H-2A Program in 2022

The H-2A program allows US farmers who anticipate shortages of seasonal workers to be certified by DOL to recruit and employ H-2A workers to fill seasonal jobs for up to 10 months. There is no cap on the number of H-2A workers who can be admitted, and about 10,000 US farm employers were certified to fill 317,000 seasonal farm jobs with H-2A workers in FY21. Some employers file multiple applications, explaining why DOL deals with over 16,000 employer applications a year.

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Mexico and USMCA

The USMCA that supplanted NAFTA and links 500 million people with a combined GDP of $24 trillion turns two on July 1, 2022. Two-way trade between Mexico and the US totaled $543 billion in 2020, between Canada and the US $540 billion, and between Canada and Mexico $15 billion.

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Oregon Agriculture and Labor

Oregon had 37,600 farms in 2017 that produced farm commodities worth $5 billion, including 1,000 farms that each had sales of $1 million or more. Most of the state’s farms, 21,000, are engaged in animal agriculture, including 12,000 beef cattle ranches. Fewer than 10 percent of the state’s farms are greenhouses and nurseries, the commodities that account for a quarter of the state’s farm sales.

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Texas Agriculture and Labor

Texas has more farms, 248,400 in the 2017 COA, and more cattle, over 12 million, than any other state. Texas farm sales were $25 billion in 2017, including $18 billion from livestock and $7 billion from crops. The 3,400 Texas farms with annual sales of $1 million or more, 1.4 percent of the state’s farms, accounted for three-fourths of Texas farm sales.

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