( Department of Labor )

Proposing to replace a requirement to place farm job postings in newspapers with the option to use online media, the Department of Labor has taken the first step toward promised H-2A reforms.

The proposed change was published in the Federal Register and was praised by Michael Marsh, president and CEO of the National Council of Agricultural Employers.

With proposed rule, Marsh said employers would have a choice between continuing to use print newspapers or switch to online media to advertise jobs.

For growers near major media markets such as New York City or Boston, print advertising can run into thousands of dollars.

The online option will save growers using the H-2A program thousands — perhaps millions of dollars — throughout the country.

“This is long overdue,” he said.

Marsh said he is looking forward to more reforms to the H-2A program in coming months.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue also praised the proposed rule in a statement, calling the move an early step in H-2A regulatory reforms promised in May in a joint statement of the Secretaries of Agriculture, Labor, State, and Homeland Security.