USDA’s New Program Bolsters Agricultural Employers, Boosting Economic Resilience

USDA’s New Program Bolsters Agricultural Employers, Boosting Economic Resilience

The Biden-Harris Administration has announced a pilot program aimed at addressing the workforce challenges faced by farmers and ranchers in the food and agricultural supply chain. The Farm Labor Stabilization and Protection Pilot Program (FLSP Program) will offer up to $65 million in grants to agricultural employers to improve resiliency and promote a safe work environment for farmworkers. The program also aims to expand lawful migration pathways for workers, including those from Northern Central America. This initiative is part of President Biden’s American Rescue Plan and aligns with the Los Angeles Declaration on Migration and Protection.

According to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, the agriculture sector in the United States is facing increasing workforce challenges that threaten the competitiveness and safety of our food system. At the same time, there is a growing interest among people to live and work in the country. The pilot program, developed with input from immigration, labor, and agricultural stakeholders, aims to address these challenges by providing incentives for both workers and employers. It will also raise labor standards for farmworkers and help alleviate long-term workforce challenges in agriculture. The program seeks to benefit everyone involved in the agricultural supply chain.

The FLSP Program focuses on advancing key priorities of the Administration. It aims to address the current workforce needs in agriculture by expanding the pool of workers and improving the quality of jobs offered by employers. It also seeks to reduce irregular migration, particularly from Northern Central America, by expanding regular migration pathways. Additionally, the program aims to improve working conditions for farmworkers by promoting fair and transparent recruitment practices and ensuring that workers are aware of their rights and available resources.

Eligibility for the program is limited to domestic agricultural employers who meet all regulatory requirements for the H-2A visa program and demonstrate effort in recruiting U.S.-based workers. The maximum award amount is $2,000,000, and the minimum is $25,000 per grant agreement. The amount awarded will be based on factors such as the projected number of agricultural employees and the competitiveness of the application. Applications must be submitted by November 28, 2023.

The FLSP Program is part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to invest in America and strengthen the economy by rebuilding infrastructure, creating jobs, and promoting a clean energy economy. It aligns with efforts to address the climate crisis and build resilient communities.

NASDA
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