New data from the American Farm Bureau Federation shows H-2A usage reached new highs in fiscal year 2023. The Market Intel report says that comes despite an increase in the Adverse Effect Wage Rate, which outpaced the hourly wage growth rate of all private employees.
This increase in both demand for workers and wage rate continues to put stress on the bottom lines of farmers and ranchers. The data shows the total number of certified H-2A positions at 378,513, an increase of two percent over fiscal year 2022. While this is a slower rate of increase than in years past, the number of positions certified is still up by more than 100,000 workers compared to fiscal year 2020. This is coupled with a nearly 19 percent increase in the required wage rate since fiscal year 2020, causing labor to be one of the costliest aspects of doing business for farmers and ranchers.
AFBF President Zippy Duvall says, “This data shows how important and urgent it is that we get a workable fix for the H-2A program and the AEWR.”