- The Biden-Harris Administration unveils the Farm Labor Stabilization and Protection Pilot Program (FLSP Program) to address agricultural workforce challenges.
- A total of $65 million in grants is available for this initiative, funded by the American Rescue Plan.
- The FLSP Program seeks to expand lawful migration pathways for workers from Northern Central America, promote improved conditions for farmworkers, and support the domestic agricultural workforce.
- Depending on specific criteria, eligible agricultural employers can receive grants ranging from $25,000 to $2,000,000.
The Biden-Harris Administration announced the initiation of a pilot program specifically designed to fortify the food and agricultural supply chain. With grants worth up to $65 million, the Farm Labor Stabilization and Protection Pilot Program (FLSP Program) aims to tackle the workforce challenges farmers and ranchers face. This initiative is coordinated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in alliance with other federal entities.
One of the primary objectives of the FLSP Program is to address the mounting agricultural workforce needs. As identified by USDA stakeholder input, employers in the agricultural sector need help securing sufficient workers, which poses risks to a safe and abundant domestic food supply. By broadening the potential worker pool and enhancing job quality, this program endeavors to resolve such challenges.
A significant facet of this program includes expanding lawful migration routes for workers. Mainly targeting workers from Northern Central America, the initiative reflects the commitment of the Biden-Harris Administration as outlined in the Los Angeles Declaration on Migration and Protection. By supporting regular migration pathways, the FLSP can offer economic benefits to foreign workers and their families, simultaneously providing opportunities for professional and economic development in their native communities.
In addition to addressing the workforce needs, the FLSP program significantly emphasizes enhancing working conditions for farmworkers. A resilient agricultural sector requires the retention of skilled agricultural workers, making robust working conditions essential. Through this pilot, the USDA aims to uplift the working conditions for both domestic and H-2A workers, ensuring they are well informed about their rights and available resources.
Regarding eligibility, this competitive grant program focuses on domestic agricultural employers who fulfill all Department of Labor (DOL) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) prerequisites for the H-2A program. Furthermore, they must demonstrate an active effort in recruiting U.S.-based workers. The grant amount varies from $25,000 to $2,000,000 based on various criteria, including the projected number of full-time equivalent (FTE) agricultural employees and the competitive nature of the application.
Prospective applicants should note that the deadline for submission is 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on November 28, 2023.
In summary, the introduction of the FLSP Program signifies a concerted effort by the Biden-Harris Administration to address the dual challenges of agricultural workforce shortages and supply chain resiliency. This endeavor forms a part of the broader “Investing in America” agenda, highlighting the administration’s focus on economic growth, job creation, and infrastructure development.
Image provided by the USDA