On April 20, 2020, the Department of Homeland Security and USCIS published a temporary final rule to amend certain H-2A requirements to help U.S. agricultural employers avoid disruptions in lawful agricultural-related employment, protect the nation’s food supply chain, and lessen impacts from the coronavirus (COVID-19) public health emergency.
The Department of Homeland Security announced temporary rule changes to H-2A worker regulations which will allow companies to employ temporary foreign farmworkers quicker and longer than previously possible.
Governor Gavin Newsom today signed an executive order to support California workers from large employers in the food sector industry impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic with two weeks of paid sick leave, filling a gap left by federal relief that had provided similar paid leave benefits for employers with fewer than 500 workers.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is easing country-of-origin requirements to allow fresh produce that has been packed for foodservice operators to be diverted to retailers as demand shifts during the pandemic.
All sectors of agriculture, including produce, specialty crops and horticulture, will be included in a $16 billion direct payment plan to be submitted to the White House this week by USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue. The secretary also told Farm Journal Live that the plan will also include $2-3 billion in food purchases to be send to the nation’s food banks.