Avoiding the unexpected (and potentially expensive) with H2A and other labor rules and regulations

CN-Hiring-H2A-pt3-0891by Bill and Mary Weaver

H2A workers are not an inexpensive source of labor. “The visa fee is $190 per worker, paid across the border, and you’ll need to budget about $250 per worker for transportation direct to your farm,” said Kerry Scott of MAS Labor, who specializes in the H2A program.

“Plan to reimburse your workers for their travel soon after they arrive,” added Scott, “They most likely will arrive stone broke, either because they are very poor, or because their money was taken from them.” [Read more…]

2016 New England Dairy Travel Course

CN-71-3-Traveling-Dairy-6734by David Marcinkowski, University of Maine

On Jan. 5, 2016, thirty-four students from four New England colleges participated in the New England Dairy Travel Course. For five days, students from the Universities of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts and New Hampshire, traveled throughout the state of Maine visiting dairy farms and learning about the dairy industry. [Read more…]

Hiring your farm workers through H2A ~ part 2

CM-MR-1-Hiring-H2a-pt2-2105by Bill and Mary Weaver

If you are having difficulty finding enough help for summer and fall farm work for this year, the H2A program is definitely an avenue to consider. Despite the paperwork, which an agent can assist you with, most farmers tend to be happy with the quality of the workers they receive through H2A. These workers are hoping to return next year so they are generally productive and looking to please their employer. [Read more…]

Dairy ventilation: fan selection

by Tamara Scully

Adequate ventilation can increase the health of dairy cows, no matter their life stage. Providing ventilation, via natural measures or enhanced with fans or tube systems, allows producers to mitigate negative environmental factors.

Ventilation enhances air quality by moving stagnant air — carrying disease-causing germs, gases, or unhealthy particles — away from animals. Circulating air can keep cows cool. [Read more…]

Hiring your farm workers through H2A ~ part 1

CN-MR-1-Hiring-workers-part1-1413by Bill and Mary Weaver

“It would certainly be ideal if growers could put an ad in the newspaper, accept applications, and hire American workers,” stated Kerry Scott of MAS Labor. Unfortunately, that approach isn’t working. For example, a grower/packer near Reno, NV needs 1725 seasonal laborers. Some of the work offered is in an air-conditioned packing shed, and even the fieldwork doesn’t involve actual “stoop labor.” Harvesting is done mechanically, with workers at the back of the harvesting machines. The grower also pays very well.

“The area around Reno, Nevada has the highest unemployment in Nevada, and most of the time, Nevada has the highest unemployment in the country,” Scott continued, speaking at the Mid Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable Growers Convention recently. “The grower ran ‘Help Wanted’ ads in the local papers. They had zero applicants for these well-paying jobs!” [Read more…]