TATTNALL COUNTY, GA (WTOC) - The H-2A program allows U.S. employers who meet specific regulatory requirements to bring foreign nationals to the United States to fill temporary agricultural jobs.
Shuman Farms has been in business since the mid 80′s. John Shuman, President of Shuman Farms, says they have been participating in the H-2A labor program for many years.
“For agriculture here in Southeast Georgia, we are going to continue to use the H2A labor program. Again, it is provided by the US Government. It’s a program they set up and establish for farmers and agriculture, and the agriculture industry to bring in workers,” Shuman said.
The workers from Mexico and other countries come in for seasonal work. With onions, for example, they come in November and December to transplant the crop. They return in the spring to then harvest the onions.
Shuman says the Vidalia Onion is a very delicate crop and must be planted and harvested by hand. The problem with that is finding the workers to do the job.
“These workers are not available here in the U.S. If these workers were available in the U.S., we wouldn’t have to turn to the H2A program. We would hire locally, but because we don’t have access to local help to do this type of work, we turn to the H2A labor program and it’s been very successful.”
Shuman says the program is about non-immigrants. They don’t want to stay in the Unites States. They just want to work here and return to their country. He says the program takes time to set up and is quite expensive, but also cuts down on people coming here illegally to work. He says there are some concerns with the border wall, but since the program is set up through the government, he doesn’t think it will cause problems.
“I don’t really see the border wall impacting that. I think the legal means to gain access to seasonal workers on a seasonal basis is going to be there regardless of the wall.”
Soon, the workers will be coming back in Georgia to harvest the onions starting in April.