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H-2A Visa Use Increased Dramatically During the Last Decade

According to numbers from the U.S. Labor Department, more than 378,000 workers were authorized for H-2A visas for temporary agriculture positions. The number was less than a third of that as recently as 2012. Farmer Mac says that trend is going to continue for some time.

“In the short run, I expect that growth to continue as long as pressure remains on labor markets,” says Jackson Takach, the chief economist with Farmer Mac. Back in 2012, the Labor Department said just 103,000 workers entered the U.S. through the H-2A program. H-2A workers are most heavily utilized in states like California and Florida because fruits and vegetables require more manual labor.

However, those workers are also vital for agriculture in the Midwest and Great Plains. Iowa tops the list of states with the most H-2A workers in the Central U.S. Iowa was followed by Minnesota and North Dakota on the list.

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