Idaho’s agricultural industry has struggled to find enough workers for years. But this year, the state’s ag labor supply is extremely tight.
PARMA — A line of striped watermelons sat nestled in between rows of melon plants in the early afternoon heat. Already picked, the heavy fruits were ready to be tossed one by one along a line of workers and placed in the bed of a truck destined for the sorting plant. Spotting a teachable mom…
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Rural America lost more population in the latest census, highlighting an already severe worker shortage in the nation’s farming and ranching regions and drawing calls from those industries for immigration reform to help ease the problem.
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Oregon has adopted emergency rules meant to protect workers from wildfire smoke and shield workers living in labor housing from extreme heat.
MOUNT VERNON, Washington — Amid this summer’s historic heat wave, the state has updated rules requiring more precautions for workers exposed to hot weather, such as those in agriculture and construction.
As COVID-19 rattled the agricultural sector last year, many workers from abroad found themselves deeply impacted by shutdowns and uncertainty.
SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — Washington state on Friday became the second state in the Pacific Northwest in as many days to announce emergency rules that provide farmworkers and others who work outdoors more protection from hot weather in the wake of an extreme heat wave that is believed to have ki…
WASHINGTON (AP) — Congressional Democrats and immigration advocates are staring at their best chance in years to overcome Republican opposition and give millions of people in the U.S. without legal authorization a way to become citizens.
The Pocatello Free Clinic plans to soon open a satellite clinic offering free services to the poor and uninsured in American Falls — a small, rural community with a large population of migrant farmworkers without adequate access to health care.
WASHINGTON – The National Potato Council recently participated in an agriculture industry roundtable discussion with U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colorado, and Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, in an effort to find bipartisan support for legislation th…
SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — Agricultural workers in Washington state would become eligible for overtime pay under a bill signed Tuesday by Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee.
GRACE — Justin Stoddard started making plans to host an on-site COVID-19 vaccination clinic for his staff back in early January, after seeing farm workers were among the high priority groups for receiving shots.
CALDWELL — Last year brought a “perfect storm of perils” for farmworkers in the United States, with the COVID-19 pandemic, extreme heat and smoke from wildfires.
BOARDMAN, Ore. (AP) — Maria Corona knew she wanted to get the vaccine. Three months earlier, eight of her family members tested positive for COVID-19. So had many of her co-workers and neighbors.
A bill aimed at addressing the worker shortage in agriculture and the uncertainty of the farm labor workforce, which has high rates of undocumented workers, passed the House of Representatives Thursday with bipartisan support.
POCATELLO — The minimum wage that Idaho farmers, ranchers and other agricultural employers must pay foreign guest workers in 2021 will increase 93 cents per hour over the 2020 rate.
BOISE — A bill to allow all drivers in Idaho, regardless of their immigration status, to obtain driving credentials after the proper training course was introduced Friday in the Idaho Legislature.
MECCA, Calif. (AP) — Migrant workers lined up by the hundreds during a break from picking produce this week to receive the coronavirus vaccine on a Southern California grape farm.
WASHINGTON (AP) — President-elect Joe Biden plans to unveil a sweeping immigration bill on Day One of his administration, hoping to provide an eight-year path to citizenship for an estimated 11 million people living in the U.S. without legal status, a massive reversal from the Trump administ…
SPOKANE, Wash. — The agriculture industry is asking Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee to move migrant farmworkers and food factory workers closer to the front of the line for the coronavirus vaccine because they perform work that cannot be delayed or performed remotely.
A U.S. Department of Labor effort to make a foreign worker program cheaper for farmers appears unlikely to succeed.
NAMPA — A rule change from the U.S. Department of Labor that freezes H-2A worker wages and adjusts the wage level for some jobs took effect Monday; it affects more than 4,000 H-2A workers in Idaho and the farmers that employ them.
WASHINGTON (AP) — A $900 billion pandemic relief package that Congress approved on Monday night contains several provisions that should significantly help the nation’s farmers, according to leaders with the National Potato Council.
BOISE — After an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division, an American Falls agricultural grower and potato transporter will pay $68,848 in back wages to 66 workers to resolve violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act, the labor provisions of the H-2A temporary…
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Tyson Foods suspended top officials at its largest pork plant on Thursday and launched an investigation into allegations that they bet on how many workers would get infected during a widespread coronavirus outbreak.
RICHLAND, Wash. (AP) — Three Mid-Columbia farms are among those receiving the biggest fines in the state from the Washington state Department of Labor and Industries for serious violations of agriculture regulations to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
CALDWELL — Family Medicine Health Center received a grant from the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare to purchase 5,000 cloth face masks for Treasure Valley farmworkers.
WASHINGTON — Some dramatic moves on immigration are expected in the early days of the Biden administration. Joe Biden will likely use executive orders to reverse some of President Donald Trump’s most controversial actions, rolling back moves that were a central feature of his administration …
SEATTLE — A divided Washington Supreme Court ruled Thursday the state’s dairy workers are entitled to overtime pay if they work more than 40 hours a week, a decision expected to apply to the rest of the agriculture industry.
BOISE — Thousands of Idaho agricultural workers, many who are considered “high-risk”, are in desperate need of face masks to help protect themselves and their families from contracting, or spreading, COVID-19 out in the community.
IDAHO FALLS — For half a century, Joyce Thiel has made every day of potato harvest like a holiday for her workers.
BOISE — The percentage of women in farm labor is increasing, according to data from the USDA. In 2010, women made up 19% of farmworkers in the U.S. and in 2018 they made up 25% of the farm labor force.
BURLINGTON, Wash. — Work is wrapping up on a seasonal farm worker housing development east of Burlington, a project nine years in the making.
OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — A Washington judge Friday upheld coronavirus-related housing rules for farmworkers, rejecting claims by a union that the state bowed to the agricultural industry and adopted unsafe standards.
BOISE — The Idaho Organization of Resource Councils has joined several other worker advocacy organizations in a civil rights complaint, claiming meat processing companies Tyson Foods and JBS USA engaged in racial discrimination through their workplace policies around the COVID-19 pandemic.
SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — Cirio Hernandez Hernandez was thinning apple trees on a June morning in Yakima, grabbing a fistful of tiny apples and knocking off all but one that was left to grow to a marketable size.
TWIN FALLS — A Lamb Weston employee died in an industrial accident at the company’s Twin Falls facility Wednesday morning.
MOUNT VERNON, Washington — Since the pandemic began, local organizations have stepped up their work with farmworkers in Skagit County through educational outreach on COVID-19 with the goal to overcome language and cultural barriers.
CALDWELL — A group of Idaho farmworker advocate organizations are raising money to help support agriculture workers and immigrants who have been impacted by COVID-19.
OWYHEE COUNTY — Mandi Boren, owner of Arrow B Ranches in Owyhee County, said in the last six years of hiring ranch workers, she has only had one U.S. citizen apply.
CONWAY, Washington — As the harvest seasons begins, farmers will have to comply with new safety requirements to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 among workers, but getting their hands on some of those supplies has been challenging.
MINNEAPOLIS — Federal recommendations meant to keep meatpacking workers safe as they return to plants that were shuttered by the coronavirus have little enforcement muscle behind them, fueling anxiety that working conditions could put employees’ lives at risk.
VANCOUVER, Wash. (AP) — Two dozen employees at a Vancouver, Washington, food processing company have been sickened with the coronavirus, officials said.
SPOKANE, Wash. — The state of Washington is implementing safety recommendations to battle a large outbreak of the coronavirus in an agricultural county in the central part of the state, officials said Tuesday.
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — Employees at a Smithfield pork processing plant in South Dakota where a coronavirus outbreak infected over 800 people were greeted at work Wednesday with thank you signs, cheers and waves from about a dozen area residents.
A Skagit Valley County, Washington, farm advocacy group has raised concerns that proposed state rules to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in temporary worker housing would negatively impact farmers’ ability to harvest their crops.
Dozens of farm workers at a Central Washington orchard have tested positive for COVID-19, though they weren’t experiencing symptoms, according to a Saturday newspaper report.
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump announced what he described as a “temporary suspension of immigration into the United States.” But an executive order he is expected to sign Wednesday to implement the change would bar only those seeking permanent residency, not temporary workers.
KUNA, Idaho (AP) — The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has launched an investigation into the accidental work death of an Idaho meat-rendering plant employee.
BOISE, Idaho (AP) — With students completing school work remotely during the coronavirus pandemic, officials say more youths are filling their days by doing farm labor and other agricultural jobs.
NAMPA — Money from the federal CARES Act and unemployment insurance started arriving in many Americans’ bank accounts this week.
Idaho’s farmers and ranchers are trying to balance protecting their business interests against the health and welfare of their workers as planting and grazing season begins in the midst of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Salvador Calzadillas isn’t worried about catching the coronavirus when he’s picking mandarin oranges in the trees in central California. But he said the mere act of getting to the groves each day puts him and his wife, also a farmworker, at risk, and there’s nothing they…
SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Farmers and orchard owners nationwide are breathing a little easier this week as more H-2A workers will be able to cross the Mexican border.
SALEM, Ore. (AP) — The COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic is threatening to worsen labor shortages experienced by Pacific Northwest farms and food processors.