Program Provides Incentives to Address Labor Challenges

Josh McGillLabor


The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently announced the Farm Labor Stabilization and Protection Pilot Program (FLSP). The new pilot grant program aims to improve food and agricultural supply-chain resiliency by addressing challenges agricultural employers face with labor shortages and instability.

 “The program will provide incentives designed to simultaneously benefit workers and employers, with the potential to inform the H-2A program, raise labor standards for farmworkers, and help alleviate our agricultural workforce challenges over the long term,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “In addition to helping agricultural producers recruit and retain workers, at the end of the program we will have tested new ways to promote accountability and improve working conditions for domestic and H-2A workers alike – demonstrating how employers benefit by doing right by workers. The effort will also facilitate safe, orderly and humane migration.”

The program’s priorities are to:

  • Drive U.S. economic recovery and safeguard domestic food supply by addressing current labor shortages in agriculture
  • Reduce irregular migration from Northern Central America through the expansion of regular pathways
  • Improve working conditions for all farmworkers

Award amounts range from $25,000 to $2 million for agricultural employers who commit to all baseline requirements. Additional award tiers are available for employers who agree to additional worker protections, which would include farm access for labor unions.

The baseline requirements include:

  • Applying all commitments to agricultural employees, H-2A or otherwise, at every worksite throughout the entirety of the grant performance period and include all commitments in the H-2A job order.
  • Participating in USDA research conducted by a non-partisan, third-party university partner selected by USDA
  • Allowing on-site access to all employees and paying all non-supervisory employees’ time to attend a Know Your Rights and Resources session conducted by a USDA cooperator partner at the beginning of workers’ contracts
  • Indicating recruitment methods for domestic and foreign workers and disclosing the names of private recruiters or sub-contractors used in the process

Applications for the pilot grant program must be submitted by Nov. 28.

Learn more about the program and apply here.

Source: Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association

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