Communicating with domestic crews is also important to smooth integrating the two groups, he says.
The cost of doing business
Housing, transportation, the adverse effect wage rate and additional management make H-2A workers more expensive.
But, Kearns says, "How much are you willing to risk that you're going to get enough workers? H-2A mitigates risk."
"It gives me security that I'm not going to lose my crew partway through the season to better or higher-paid work," Talbott says.
H-2A visas are tied to individual employers. Guaranteed work without fear of immigration enforcement makes H-2A contracts "relatively coveted jobs," he says. With a larger pool to draw from, growers can target workers they want to return next season.
"That may be worth it in and of itself: building up a good, experienced crew," he says.
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