|Mr. Yates goes to Washington|
|Tuesday, 02 October 2007 19:00|
Local tree grower and former President of the North Carolina Association of Christmas Tree Farmers Harry Yates is in Washington today, and he’s a man with a mission.Yates was asked to testify before the House Agriculture Committee on the H2A Guestworker Program.
Even though it's a bad time to leave his farm, he's honored to discuss the program with lawmakers.
The Guestworker Program allows farmers to employ documented foreign workers for nine months. Those workers then return to their country of origin for documentation- and can return the following year. Yates has been an H2A employer for the past decade- and recognizes the importance of the program.
Lawmakers are looking to modify the program, and Yates says it's about time.
Yates hopes his visit will help reform H2A into something that can benefit more growers in western North Carolina. Currently, farmers have a lot of red tape to go through before employing H2A workers, Yates says. They must go through both the U.S. Department of Labor and Homeland Security. Labor rates, established by the Department of Labor, have also gone up 76 percent in the last 16 years. Yates says it’s time for a change.
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