GFB seeks members' help responding to likely AEWR increase
Posted on Dec 08, 2022 at 0:00 AM
On Nov. 23, the USDA released the Farm Labor Report. Wage data from this report is used by the U.S. Department of Labor to set the next year’s Adverse Effect Wage Rate (AEWR) for the H-2A guestworker program. This program provides U.S. farmers, including those in Georgia, with a reliable and skilled workforce.
The report released by USDA shows survey data that will likely increase the AEWR in 2023 by an average of 7% nationwide, yet 14% for the state of Georgia. An increase this drastic will be of significant harm to Georgia farmers who rely on the H-2A program. While it is extremely rare that the U.S. Department of Labor deviates from the rate released in the Farm Labor Report, GFB is asking members to make their voice heard as advocates for Georgia agriculture.
Specifically, members are encouraged to ask members of congress to engage with the U.S. Department of Labor and ensure they know how detrimental this increase to the AEWR would be to Georgia farmers. To contact your U.S. representative and Sens. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, visit https://www.gfb.org/advocacy/action-center.cms#/4.
The American Farm Bureau Federation, along with more than 350 other food and farm organizations that are part of the Ag Workforce Coalition, sent a letter urging the Senate to pass legislation to address the nation’s agricultural workforce challenges before the end of the 117th Congress. The House of Representatives has passed a farm labor reform bill, but the legislation needs improvements to adequately address pressing needs facing agriculture.
Recent analysis from AFBF economists indicates that costs associated with farm labor will add to the ever-expanding list of factors straining the farm economy in 2023. In fact, a recent AFBF Market Intel, Examining the 2023 AEWR, states some farmers and ranchers could see an increase in farm labor costs of up to $2 per hour for each employee.