Toxic pesticide contamination has been creating many unwanted health risks in the agricultural industry for more than 2-3 decades. People who live in communities near the agricultural fields of pesticide application are suffering from various health problems due to water contamination caused by pesticide drifts. The crops harvested from such agricultural fields contain toxic materials, which directly affects the health of the consumers of these agricultural products.This vicious cycle has been creating untold problems and health issues around the world for some time now. This is why the world as a whole has understood the gravity of the situation and is moving towards organic agriculture products. The demand for organic agriculture products worldwide is growing in a tremendous way because of the aforementioned reasons. The world market kept on growing since the early 1990′s and peaked at $85 billion in 2013. Agricultural experts forecast a tremendous increase in this growth within the foreseeable future.
Many countries around the world have banned genetically modified organism (GMO) foot items in favor of going back to natural farming methods. The organic method of farming is internationally regulated by the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements, and certain standards are placed to provide a healthy source of food to the people around the world. These regulations are enforced by most of the countries in the world right now. More than 100 million acres around the world are now being farmed by using organic methods. This is roughly around 10% of all the farming lands of the world. This shows that there is a lot more to be done in educating the rest of the world about the benefits of organic farming.Organic farming is the oldest form of food production in the world. It has been practiced for millions of years by our ancestors. The artificial fertilizers came into being during the early 18th century in the form of ammonia based products and super phosphates. These products were cheap, easy to transport & apply and gave a better harvest than the organic methods used during that time. The chemical pesticides became popular during the 1940′s, and the harvest even increased further. This was the beginning of the toxic era. While these methods were proving to be a boon in the short run, they were responsible for many hazards such as soil erosion, decreasing of overall soil fertility, compaction and untold health issues of mankind in the long run.
Sir Albert Howard and his wife Gabrielle, who were both botanists, created the organic agriculture products movement in the late 1950′s. Today, with the latest technology available, there have been many advances in the methods of organic farming. Organic farming has been able to find effective solutions to pest and other major environmental problems affecting the harvest, thanks to the latest technology. This is why organic farming methods are in high demand currently. This demand is expected to grow in leaps and bounds since more and more people around the world are coming to understand the importance of organic farming.
If you are an agricultural employer in the United States seeking to hire temporary foreign workers, or you are a foreign national who has been offered an agriculture-related job in the U.S., this article may be for you.For U.S. Agricultural EmployersIntroduction. Although there are few more painstaking procedures employers must endure when it comes to hiring workers than attempting to hire temporary foreign agricultural workers, the necessity of the situation and the financial reward that results may make it worthwhile.
Requirements. The U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) has stringent requirements for U.S. employers to hire temporary agricultural workers. The process is laborious, tedious, and downright difficult. That is why many U.S. agricultural companies have immigration lawyers experienced in labor matters to assist them.For an employer to even be eligible to hire foreign workers, the employer must obtain a Labor Certification from DOL. This process requires the employer to prove such things as: (a) a shortage of qualified U.S. workers to fill the positions; (b) the temporary or seasonal nature of the employment being offered. To meet these criteria, the employer must recruit U.S. workers; that is, the employer must advertise the availability of the employment being offered to U.S. workers for a period of time so as to ensure a legitimate shortage of U.S. workers. The employer must also demonstrate that it will pay the foreign H-2A workers the same wage as U.S. workers; that is, the wage must be at least as high as the applicable Adverse Effect Wage Rate (“AEWR”) or the applicable prevailing wage rate, whichever is higher. In addition, the employer must also provide free housing, meals, and transportation to H-2A employees in certain circumstances, as well as provide the employee with the tools and supplies necessary for the employment. The amount of work the employer must guarantee must comply with the three-fourths rule; that is, the employer must provide each worker employment for at least three-fourths of the workdays in the work contract period and any extensions. Another requirement is that at the end of the Labor Certification application process (see below), the State Workforce Agency (SWA) must continue to refer U.S. workers to the employer, which extends through fifty percent of the period of employment (“the fifty-percent rule”). This discussion of requirements for the employer is not exhaustive; please check the most current requirements on DOL’s web site and consult with an experienced immigration attorney.
Applying. The employer is charged with the responsibility of sponsoring the H-2A applicant; the employee may not apply for H-2A status individually. First, the employer must prepare a job offer on Form ETA-790 to be filed with DOL. Second, the employer must obtain a Labor Certificate by filing Form ETA-9142 (and ETA-9142 Appendix A.2) with DOL’s National Processing Center (“NPC”) in Chicago. Be sure to check the most current deadlines for filing the above forms on DOL’s web site. Once the Labor Certificate has been approved, the employer must begin recruiting for U.S. workers to ensure a legitimate shortage of U.S. workers. The recruitment process requires specific advertising methods, so check with DOL or a qualified U.S. immigration attorney before undertaking recruiting methods to ensure compliance. Once recruitment has been complied with, the employer may begin, after satisfying a few various other requirements such as the fifty-percent rule discussed above, the employer may begin the application process for the H-2A foreign workers, which is done by filing Form I-129 with the United States Citizenship & Immigration Service (“USCIS”), along with Form I-129H.
For Foreign Nationals Who Have Been Offered a Job in the U.S. as an Agricultural WorkerIntroduction. The H-2A visa must be applied for by an employer; not a foreign national seeking to be a temporary agricultural worker in the U.S.The benefits of the H-2A include: (a) the ability to work in the U.S. for up to three years; (b) the ability to bring dependents to the U.S. on the H-4 visa (which enables them to study in the U.S.); (c) the ability to travel freely to and from the U.S. while current on H-2A status; (d) the ability to enjoy all benefits and wage protections as other U.S. employees; and (e) the ability to change to a different job if certain criteria are met.
Requirements. An individual seeking agricultural employment with a U.S. company must obtain a valid job offer from a qualifying U.S. company, and that company must obtain a valid Labor Certificate from DOL (discussed above).
Applying. An individual seeking employment with a U.S. agricultural company, if outside the U.S. when USCIS approves the employer’s H-2A petition, must apply for the H-2A visa at a U.S. Consulate abroad. There, the visa applicant must present forms DS-156 and DS-157 and present the I-797C “Notice of Action” that the H-2A petition was approved, along with a current passport, two passport photos, and proof that s/he meets the employment requirements.
The information set forth in this article is meant to be of a general informational nature, and not exhaustive.