While industry employers are eager to hire every willing and able American that applies, for years, agricultural/horticultural employers have struggled to meet workforce needs solely from the domestic labor pool. The existing legal visa programs to access foreign workers – H-2A for growers and H-2B for seasonal non-agricultural jobs – are bureaucratic, oversubscribed, and straining under growing demand. Labor shortages mean domestic growers and employers are losing growth opportunities and market share to imports. U.S. GDP and job growth also suffer, since seasonal workers’ contributions sustain two to three jobs in the surrounding economy. Statistics show that many of the most experienced and productive workers lack proper work authorization. AmericanHort favors reform that addresses the critical labor needs of employers while strengthening our foreign-labor visa programs and securing the integrity of our future workforce.
The H-2A program is vital to greenhouse and nursery growers who are unable to find enough seasonal workers to meet their production and shipping needs. Yet the program is marred by high costs and bureaucracy. AmericanHort seeks legislative and administrative improvements to the H-2A program to reduce employer cost and process burdens in order to provide an affordable and efficient labor safety net to horticulture industry employers.
The H-2B program is vital to landscape businesses across the country that struggle to find enough seasonal workers to sustain their businesses and supplement their American workforce during seasonal peaks. By enabling companies to staff up for these peaks, H-2B helps secure and sustain employment opportunities for U.S. workers in the landscape sector and the horticulture industry supply chain. AmericanHort supports immediate H-2B visa cap relief, permanent program reform, and better coordination among the federal agencies involved.
AmericanHort supports sensible solutions for current experienced, but unauthorized, nursery, and greenhouse farm workers to earn legal presence and authorization to continue contributing in the horticulture sector.
AmericanHort and its Horticultural Research Institute (HRI) foundation actively support scholarship, career development, vocational and apprenticeship programs to attract people to horticulture. In addition to our internal efforts, we support policies that increase access to education for students interested in careers in the horticulture industry.