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January 2021, Volume 27, Number 1

 Click here to download this issue as a PDF file

Rural America

California: Covid, Elections
California had a second wave of Covid in winter 2020-21, prompting the state to order counties and cities to issue stay-at-home orders as hospital

Meat and Covid
Meatpacking is the largest industry in rural America. Over 500,000 people are employed in US meat and poultry processing, and there are 49 nonmetro

Labor, H-1B
The unemployment rate fell below seven percent in Fall 2020, ending the year at 6.7 percent. Almost 159 million Americans were employed in February

Farm Workers

California: Covid
Cal/OSHA in November 2020 issued emergency rules that require employers to identify potential Covid transmission points in their workplaces with the

Florida, Southeast
DOL debarred Flo-Ag LLC and owners Jose and Juan Flores from the H-2A program in December 2020 after finding that 113 US workers were owed $45,200 in

Midwest, Northeast, Northwest
Illinois. Major seed corn firms such as Bayer (Monsanto) and Corteva Agriscience (DuPont Pioneer) use labor contractors to find workers in south

The Napa Valley Register reviewed UFW activities December 18, 2020, noting that the UFW represented workers only at Charles Krug and St Supery, while


Immigration: Biden, Trump Legacies
Democrat Joe Biden was elected president in November 2020, winning 81 million votes and 306 electoral votes to 74 million votes and 232 electoral

Cuban immigrant Alejandro Mayorkas was named secretary of the Department of Homeland Security and began to fill some of the 74 leadership positions

H-2A; H-2B
DOL certified the applications of 13,552 employers to fill 275,430 jobs with H-2A workers in FY20. The number of jobs certified rose about six

Canada, Mexico
Canada. The US brought the first case under the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement in December 2020, accusing Canada of preventing imports of

Europe, Asia
European countries responded to a second wave of Covid-19 infections in fall and winter 2020 by closing bars and restaurants but leaving factories

Global Migration: OECD
The OECD’s annual migration report emphasized that immigration and temporary migration fell sharply in 2020. Both immigration and temporary labor


California Agriculture
County agriculture commissioners released 2019 farm sales data in Fall 2020. Fresno county had farm sales of $7.7 billion, including $1.6 billion

US Ag, Trade
Cash receipts from the sale of crops and livestock were $358 billion in 2020, down from $370 billion in 2019, due to lower prices for major crops

Food, Wine
USDA issued Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020-2025 that did not include recommendations to reduce added sugars from the current 10 percent and to

Climate Change
The Paris climate agreement of 2015 obliges governments to cooperate to prevent average temperatures from rising more than 1.5C or 2.7F over

DOL debars an average 15 H-2A employers a year
DOL may debar and block applications from employers who are seeking to hire foreign workers from one to three years for failure to pay the wages promised or to offer the housing and working conditions promised in their job orders for H-2A and H-2B workers. In the four years between FY15 and FY18, DOL received over 39,000 applications from employer for H-2A workers, and audited 3,100 or eight percent. DOL debarred 57 farm employers, about 15 a year, from applying for H-2A workers.

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