A proposed rule change to H-2A is getting support. The change would allow American employers looking for temporary help to advertise their job openings online instead of in newspapers. The U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue is applauding the proposal from the Department of Labor. The proposal is one of the first steps in H-2A regulatory reform that was promised in May.
Perdue says one of the biggest concerns he hears about from farmers during his travels around the country is about the shortage of legal farm labor. Modernizing H-2A forms is something the U.S. Apple Association is fighting for, including being able to fill out lengthy paperwork online. Jim Bair of the U.S. Apple Association said, "you have to tell the Department of Labor months in advance when you're going to need these workers, even though you're not sure as an apple grower when you're going to be ready to harvest. Historically, you can see you're going to need them about October 1. Well, mother nature may have other plans for you. Harvest may be two weeks early or it might be two weeks late, and so that's just one example of it's not a very nimble program. It's not very user-friendly at all."