Dec 7, 2022GFVGA calls on members to contact congress about H-2A
The Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association (GFVGA) has issued a call to action on the impending H-2A wage increase. On Dec. 7, the LaGrange, Georgia, growers group urged its members to support the organization’s lobbying efforts by contacting their congressional representatives.
“On Nov. 23, USDA released the findings of their Farm Labor Survey. The devastating news for Georgia includes a drastic 14% increase in the Adverse Effect Wage Rate (AEWR). The new AEWR in Georgia will rise to $13.68 per hour from the current rate of $11.99. The survey findings will be used by The U.S. Department of Labor to set H-2A wage rates for 2023, a move that is expected to be announced shortly,” GFVGA stated in the alert.
“Focusing on the largest issue at hand, a 14% increase in H-2A wages will cost Georgia farmers an estimated $102 million in additional 2023 H-2A wages over what they will pay in 2022. Across the country, the only state that fared worse with a 15% increase was Florida. Nationwide, H-2A employers are facing a 7% increase in wages.”
“The new rates, based on a complex survey and formulaic approach, come as a shock to growers who are still experiencing record-high prices on inputs and supplies and who are still battling low price imports from Mexico where wage rates are a fraction of what U.S. growers pay.
“The pressure on growers is immense with USDA recently reporting that U.S. farmers only received 14.5 cents per dollar spent on domestically produced food, the lowest figure in almost 30 years. Farmers are paying more than ever to produce a crop and receiving less and less in return. All of that before being forced to pay a wage range that has become completely disjointed from the economic realities in our farming communities.
GFVGA submitted on December 5th to the entire Georgia Congressional Delegation.
“Your elected officials need to hear directly from growers, packers, and shippers who will be impacted by this devastating increase. We encourage you to contact your representative and senators, either via phone call or the linked letter.
“The task is simple: Request that your elected officials engage with the Department of Labor to let them know that a 14% increase in AEWR will cripple Georgia’s fruit and vegetable industry.
For any questions or media inquiries, please email executive vice president Chris Butts at [email protected].