Nov 11, 2020
Ag Labor Forum to present timely industry updates

I am sure you have heard the old saying that “Those who fail to plan, plan to fail.”

Looking back at the 2020 season, most farmers and ranchers would probably say, “How could I have planned for that?”

And, hopefully, your business is still standing.

The National Council of Agricultural Employers (NCAE) was as surprised as anyone with the eruption of a global pandemic. We would always rather be proactive than reactive but sometimes, you have no choice.

This year we have a choice to plan and we are doing just that with the topics and insight that will be shared at our Virtual Ag Labor Forum scheduled for Dec. 2-4, 2020. Since all the discussions and presentations will be done online, social distancing should be a breeze and you should not have to wear a mask when interfacing with your computer!

Planning in this coming year will be key as it appears this virus will be sticking around for a while. Thankfully, we will not have the same steep learning curve we experienced this year and, this forum should give you a leg up on your competition.

At NCAE’s Virtual Ag Labor Forum attendees will get a chance to hear from us as to what our plans are for the coming year to continue aggressively advocating on behalf of U.S. farm and ranch employers. It will be a fight, as it always is, but a fight that must be won.

Attendees of the forum will get a firsthand look inside the new Congress following the election. Experts will weigh in on what critical committees may look like and provide participants with ideas as to how they can help our cause when members of Congress return home from D.C. to face constituents. And, regardless of who wins the presidential race, changes are sure to come to cabinet appointments and we will take a look at how that may impact ag employers.

Economic analysis will also be discussed. Some of this analysis will examine the farm and ranch impacts of COVID-19 from a business perspective and what those impacts may portend for the future. One of the things to be considered in this discussion is what this might mean for the rise of labor activism and
whether unions will be emboldened to be more assertive in attempting to organize the farm labor workforce.

We will also pop open the hood and take a look at what’s happening in those “Canary in the Coal Mine” state legislatures of California and Washington. Because, as we know to our misfortune, some of those strange anti-farmer initiatives that start there, don’t stay there.

A panel on immigration reform will “crystal ball” for attendees what that might look like in the new Congress and how agriculture can best work together to assure we end up with reform that does not undermine the sustainability of farms and ranches. Experts from across the country will be on hand to dissect this hot topic and will be one forum participants will not want to miss.

The Agricultural Safety and Health Council of America will turn a spade on what farmers and ranchers can do to best plan for protecting their workers, their families and themselves in a COVID environment for the next year. What planning can be done and how can we better access personal protection equipment? The session will also examine best practices learned from 2020.

Two separate tracks of H-2A will also run during the Forum. H-2A 101 will crack open topics for new users of the program and H-2A Advanced Topics will dive deeper into the regulations for more seasoned users. Trying to tease a little intrigue into this program will be a session walking through changes to regulations that have been cooking at the Department of Labor for over a year.

Experts from the Departments of State and Labor will be available to provide updates on their programs and answer questions for attendees. Undeniably, we will have a lot to talk about.

We are looking to wrap this year’s forum with a couple of special invited guests. The Trump administration negotiated bi-lateral agreements with the governments of Guatemala and Honduras for provision of workers in the H-2A program. The Ministers of Labor from both countries will address the audience and share the details of their programs.

We hope you will join us for this exciting event and use it as part of your plan for success in 2021. Details can be found at

I look forward to virtually seeing you there!

Have a blessed and happy Thanksgiving!

— Michael Marsh, president & CEO, National Council of Agricultural Employers


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