Apr 27, 2020
Webinar on May 7 by Penn State focuses on H-2A visa program issues

Penn State Extension will present a townhall-style web-based seminar May 7 to assist Pennsylvania agricultural stakeholders who rely on the H-2A visa program for temporary workers to operate their businesses.

The session, from 6:30 to 8 p.m., will cover COVID-19 mitigation efforts, such as international travel restrictions and consulate closures, that have disrupted the normal functioning of the H-2A visa program. These disruptions to the H-2A program raise questions about the timely arrival of guest workers and the impact on essential food and agricultural businesses.

The webinar also will address the dangers of COVID-19 itself, which raises similar questions around how to protect the health and well-being of these visa holders.

The first half of the program will feature guest speakers who will talk about the implications of the new H-2A temporary rule change, discussing impacts on how the program interfaces with state agencies; what growers are experiencing related to travel logistics and visa processing of their guest workers; steps that employers should take to protect employee health; what health programs are available to farm workers in Pennsylvania; how immigrant farm communities are experiencing the pandemic; and what legislative fixes are either in the pipeline or should be considered.

The second half of the webinar will be reserved for a question-and-answer period with the guest speakers, and webinar attendees are encouraged to send their questions beforehand. They also will be able to ask their questions in a live chat with the panelists during the webinar.

Guest speakers include Richard Stup, agricultural workforce specialist at Cornell Cooperative Extension; Brook Duer, staff attorney at the Penn State Center for Agricultural and Shale Law; Grant Meckley, Pennsylvania Keystone Health’s Agricultural Worker Program; Scott Sheely, executive director of the Lancaster County Agriculture Council; and Alyssa Charney, agriculture legislative assistant from Sen. Robert Casey’s office. Casey serves on the Senate Agriculture Committee.

Please submit questions to extension educators Benjamin Bartley, [email protected] (English), and Maria Gorgo [email protected] (Spanish).

To register for this webinar, go to:  https://extension.psu.edu/h-2a-agricultural-workers-in-times-of-uncertainty-webinar-pr

For more information, contact Gorgo, at [email protected] or 1-609-369-3281; or Dana Ollendyke, [email protected], 1-814-863-5567. 

 


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