USDA Announces Grants for Farm Workers

Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack recently announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture is offering grants and funding to help build domestic and migrant farm worker housing.

The announcement comes in the middle of an ongoing political struggle over immigration. Over the last two years, several states have passed restrictive immigration laws designed to curb the flow of undocumented workers. As a result, farmers in those states have reported a sharp decline in available farm labor, seriously cutting into their profits.

Other states have reported a similar labor shortage. In part, undocumented workers are staying away due to increased hostility in the US. In part, however, the sluggish American economy has attracted fewer migrant workers, as have several well-publicized stories of farm labor abuse.

The USDA grant will help attract more farm workers and laborers, both from within the United States and abroad. Guaranteeing affordable housing for workers will help attract more and better farm hands.

“These grants will help communities submit quality applications to increase their chances of getting funding to build much-needed affordable housing for farm workers,” Vilsack said. “Increasing the supply of affordable housing in rural communities not only helps the residents, it helps the entire community.”

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer