Navigating the H-2A program can be confusing and cumbersome. But, thanks to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), growers applying to the program now have a new tool in the form of an interactive H-2A checklist.
According to Kaveh Sadeghzadeh, deputy director of communications for USDA farm production and conservation, “The H-2A checklist tool is the first phase of an effort by USDA to enable producers to manage the H-2A application process in one place and online.”
The checklist is designed to bring all the elements of applying for the H-2A program together. The tool is customizable to fit the user’s needs. “An individual can answer just a few questions, select the start date for workers, and get a ‘to-do checklist’ built around his or her H-2A hiring needs. Then, print or download the checklist as a reference. A producer can also download calendar reminders from the checklist to a personal device — PC or mobile,” Sadeghzadeh explains.
So far, the checklist has been an attractive tool for farmers. “Since launching the H-2A checklist on April 3, 2019, close to 3,000 people accessed the H-2A checklist and are spending under three minutes completing the checklist,” Sadeghzadeh says. “Users are spending about 45 percent more time on the H-2A program page and using the checklist more than other resources on Farmers.gov, with most users going directly to the checklist.”
The checklist tool can be found on Farmers.gov, a USDA website designed to be a resource for farmers nationwide for programs like H-2A, disaster assistance and more. On the website, farmers can learn more about USDA programs as well as apply for them. Sadeghzadeh says the USDA built Farmers.gov for farmers, by farmers.
“We’re talking to our customers and field employees who serve those customers, often farmers and ranchers themselves. We’re building Farmers.gov around their needs and ideas through a streamlined, user-centric approach — bringing the most usable information together in a new way,” Sadeghzadeh concludes.
This article was featured in the July issue of VSCNews magazine. To receive future issues of VSCNews magazine, click here.
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