Idaho Farmers Turn to Guest Workers to Fill Labor Gap
CALDWELL, Idaho (AP) — Farmers in southern Idaho are increasingly turning to the guest worker program to fill the gap left by the shrinking labor force in the state.
The Capital Press reports that Idaho Department of Labor figures show applications from agricultural businesses seeking workers under the H-2A program increased by 32 percent from 2015 to this year. Most of the applications were from the southern part of the state.
Jennifer Uranga, who owns a consulting firm specializing in H-2A issues, says more producers are expected to use these workers in coming years. The federal program grants foreign nationals a visa for temporary agricultural work.
Uranga says the lack of housing in the region is the only thing slowing the number. Businesses that bring in the workers are required to provide housing.