Northern Colorado agriculture producers are struggling to find U.S. workers.
As the Greeley Tribune reports, there aren’t enough U.S. workers who will do the labor-intensive work required by the agriculture industry, as many have moved to other labor-intensive industries like oil or construction.
To help fill the gap, some producers have turned to H-2A workers, non-immigrant workers who come to the U.S. for seasonal jobs. They aren’t given immigrant status and can work only the assigned job for the amount of time requested by the producer.
Workers in the H-2A program are guaranteed a minimum of 40 working hours per week, whether crops are ruined by hailstorms or other weather events, making it more costly, but Dave Petrocco, a third-generation Weld County farmer, said H-2A workers are willing to put in the work.
Dairy farmers cannot employ H-2A workers, however, as dairy work is not considered seasonal, so dairy producers are hoping for legislation of some sort to help bridge the labor gap.