Covid 19 Could Mean Disaster for America's Farms corona virus


Covid 19 Could Mean Disaster for America's Farms corona virus


around 11% of crop workers on us farms are seasonal and come from abroad on once known as an h2 a visa the Trump administration has designated them essential and waived interviews to speed up the process but hundreds of thousands of workers around the world are still waiting to get their visas and farmers are running out of time we've got anywhere from 20 to sometimes 30K amarican employees who come here and help us during the harvest the biggest problem is that we're expecting our first h-2a worker and we don't know yet when he'll be arriving his name is albert he's been coming since I was 4years old he's sort of our right-hand man if you will might some people real real hard because a lot of guys don’t make any other plan than to go to work there it's my job for the past 25 years the only job I have it means a lot to main Vermont where Delbert works farmers expect around 500 h-2a workers in Georgia farmers are waiting tens of thousands our industry plants around this year nine thousand three hundred plus acres of Vidalia sweet onions and they’re all hand planted and hand harvested without this labor we don’t have an industry we don't have a contingency plan there is no plan B the timing of this spring work is not set by the calendar it's set by Mother Nature if you miss a fungicide application now it can ruin the crop for the rest of the year it's absolutely time critical now the next big concern is going to be cane keep our folks healthy how do we have some how do we respect the social distancing if one person comes down with covid 19 and got 30 people living in in one you know labor house that's been specifically built like a dormitory what happens was there you know and then will the others go back to work is to a record have to board a bus a Greyhound bus from Miami our fort not idea to our destination all the way up the East Coast is caring we asked the State Department what their plans were to get h-2a workers here safely and they sent us this statement the Department intends to continue processing h2 cases as much as possible but will need to modify our procedures in order to facilitate the social distancing recommended by CDC and host country health authorities you know everybody’s talking about well you know all the high schools are out we can get high school kids and we can do this and do that and I said you know what our kids are not going to do this kind of work it's back-breaking it's tough work it’s sunup and sundown six days a weekend it's six weeks by participating in this program we're required to place advertisements we advertisement with the unemployment office and typically we get no response zero for you know 30 to 35positions so it's really important that we have access to these workers because it’s not going to happen without them you

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