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Penn State Extension Town hall-style webinar tofocus on H-2A visa ag workers in uncertain times


Webinar attendees are encouraged to send their questionsbeforehand. General workforce concerns will also be addressed.


UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State Extension will presenta townhall-style web-based seminar May 7 to assist Pennsylvaniaagricultural stakeholders who rely on the H-2A visa program fortemporary workers to operate their businesses.


The session, from 6:30 to 8 p.m., will cover COVID-19 mitigationefforts, such as international travel restrictions and consulate closures, thathave disrupted the normal functioning of the H-2A visa program. Thesedisruptions to the H-2A program raise questions about the timely arrival ofguest workers and the impact on essential food and agricultural businesses.


The webinar also will address the dangers of COVID-19 itself,which raises similar questions around how to protect the health and well-beingof these visa holders.


The first half of the program will feature guest speakers who willtalk about the implications of the new H-2A temporary rule change, discussingimpacts on how the program interfaces with state agencies; what growers areexperiencing related to travel logistics and visa processing of their guestworkers; steps that employers should take to protect employee health; whathealth programs are available to farm workers in Pennsylvania; how immigrantfarm communities are experiencing the pandemic; and what legislative fixes areeither in the pipeline or should be considered. 


The second half of the webinar will be reserved for aquestion-and-answer period with the guest speakers, and webinar attendees areencouraged to send their questions beforehand. They also will be able to asktheir questions in a live chat with the panelists during the webinar.


Guest speakersinclude Richard Stup, agricultural workforce specialist at CornellCooperative Extension; Brook Duer, staff attorney at the Penn State Center forAgricultural and Shale Law; Grant Meckley, Pennsylvania Keystone Health’sAgricultural Worker Program; Scott Sheely, executive director of theLancaster County Agriculture Council; and Alyssa Charney, agriculturelegislative assistant from Sen. Robert Casey’s office. Casey serves on theSenate Agriculture Committee. 


Please submit questions toextension educators Benjamin Bartley, bvb5598@psu.edu (English),and Maria Gorgo mag38@psu.edu (Spanish).


Toregister for this webinar, go to:  https://extension.psu.edu/h-2a-agricultural-workers-in-times-of-uncertainty-webinar-pr


For more information, contact Gorgo, at mag38@psu.edu or1-609-369-3281; or Dana Ollendyke, djm428@psu.edu, 1-814-863-5567.