News: H-2A Doubles Workforce / Dems Incomplete Spending Package
**The H-2A Ag Workers Program more than doubled in size in less than ten years, and fruit, vegetable and nut growers were a big reason for the growth.
The H-2A program allows ag employers to bring in foreign guestworkers to fill seasonal labor contracts.
A new USDA report shows between 2010 and 2019, H-2A positions increased more than 220%.
**House Ag Committee Democrats approved an incomplete spending package as part of the Build Back Better Act.
The legislation includes $18 billion in rural job-promoting investments through the USDA’s Rural Development and $7.75 billion to support ag research and infrastructure.
The bill also includes over $47 billion to support expanded biofuel infrastructure, for a new Rural Partnership Program, for the Rural Energy for America Program, and for various forest-related programs.
It does not include USDA’s voluntary conservation programs.
**Winegrape growers in Napa County, California are crediting healthy composting measures for helping transition vineyards to organic production.
Napa County ranks second to Mendocino County in organic winegrape acreage.
Organics still account for less than 10% of winegrape production and about one-fourth of production in
Mendocino, but improvements in fertilizers are convincing more growers to transition to organics.