2019 Ag Labor Relations Forum
Wednesday, November 13, 2019
Posted by: Mary Kendall Dixon
The Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association, GFVGA, held the fourth annual Agricultural Labor Relations Forum in Tifton on Nov. 5-6. labor legislative changes are always a topic of concern in the ag industry, so the event served to keep producers up-to-date on the latest coming out of Washington.
“Ag labor can be a difficult aspect of farm management to navigate,” said Beth Oleson, GFVGA Director of Education. “By gathering over a dozen subject matter experts for this event, growers have the opportunity to get their questions answered.”
Over the course of this two-day event, attendees heard from thirteen expert speakers on how to prepare for a Department of Labor Wage and Hour Audit, Worker Protection Standard implementation updates and compliance tips and a political outlook on how the current political climate may impact ag labor and workforce. The H-2A temporary agricultural workers program was a major focus of this year’s forum and included a deep dive panel discussion into the 2019 proposed H-2A rule changes.
Attendees also heard from Mike Rios, U.S. DOL Wage and Hour Division. According to Rios, wage and hour investigations in the state of Georgia have decreased in number. While this is good, it’s not necessarily a trend, Rios said. Rios also discussed best practices for labor logs, pay stubs, housing, transportation, other components of the H-2A program and answered specific questions from growers.
“Labor is a major driving force behind what makes a crop yield a success or not,” said Haley Stockton, consultant with AgWorks H2, LLC and first time Ag Labor Forum attendee. “Growers have to be aware of what is taking place in regard to their labor force and ever-changing regulations in which they must comply if they want to have a successful season.”
Each attendee received a binder full of resources, which can be found here, www.georgiaaglaborforum.com/presentations.
More information on ag labor legislations and trends will be presented at the 2020 Southeast Regional Conference during the Business Operations Education Sessions. Read more about the SE Regional Conference here: www.seregionalconference.org.