Warren, Minnesota farmer Denise Olson employes two H-2A workers each year on a contract from March 1 through December 31. A new Department of Labor rule on the adverse effect wage rate will go into effect on January 1. If this new rule remains in place, Olson said it would cost her tens of thousands of dollars more per year in labor costs. “To put it mildly, this program could just become unaffordable. There’s no way you would just spend that kind of money to get exactly what you already have.” Thief River Falls, Minnesota farmer David Gary has his 82 year old father is still working on the farm due to the labor shortage. “He can’t retire because he’s our main guy and we can’t find anybody to take his place. Without H-2A, we’re going to suffer.” Gary describes the local labor force as extremely scarce. “There’s not enough population to serve all the jobs and the workforce is exhausted in the Upper Midwest.”
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