Ag News: California Food Assistance and H-2A Worker Increase
**People who need food assistance during the pandemic have started receiving California-grown food through a new federal program.
The Farmers to Families Food Box program from the USDA buys fresh produce, meats and dairy products to be delivered to food banks and other nonprofits.
The program intends to help both people in need and some of the farmers, ranchers and food distributors who lost business due to stay-at-home protocols.
**The National Association of Farm Broadcasting recently conducted a non-scientific email survey of farmers and ranchers regarding COVID-19 ramifications on their livelihoods and farm-radio listening.
NAFB executive director, Tom Brand says this survey shows farmers and ranchers are listening to farm radio during the pandemic for timely, accurate news.
A robust 75.1% replied they listen five or more days per week.
71.2% said their interest level in learning about new and existing ag products was "extremely important" or "important."
**H-2A worker positions increased fivefold between 2005 and 2019.
That’s according to the USDA that says one of the clearest indicators of the scarcity of farm labor is the number of H-2A positions requested and approved that went up that much in 14 years, from just over 48,000 in 2005 to nearly 258,000 in 2019.
The average duration of an H-2A certification in 2019 was 5.3 months, implying that the 258,000 positions certified represented about 114,000 full-year equivalents.