The U.S. Department of Agriculture on July 10 released an internal guidance on changes made to farm labor housing eligibility. The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018 amended a section of the Housing Act of 1949 to extend the Farm Labor Housing tenant eligibility to agricultural workers legally admitted to the U.S. and authorized to work in agriculture. Due to this rule change, domestic farm laborers legally admitted into the country under an H-2A work visa are now eligible for this state-inspected housing.
“Finding suitable housing for temporary agriculture workers has always been a challenge faced by our farmers and producers,” Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said. “The seasonal workers coming to the United States do tremendous work for American agriculture. I am pleased that USDA programs can now better assist farmers needing to provide housing while they’re here. I thank Congress for addressing this issue in its most recent funding bill and hope to continue the conversation on farm labor for our agriculture industry.”
Rep. Dan Newhouse (R, Wash.) hailed the news, as he had pushed for the amendment to the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018.
“Labor scarcity is a growing problem for agriculture producers nationwide, and improving access to legal guest workers is a top priority for farmers in central Washington,” Newhouse said. “I applaud USDA’s announcement that it is implementing my legislation to allow housing to be used for both domestic and legally admitted temporary workers.”
The application period is now open, with a deadline of Aug. 27, 2018.