RALEIGH – The North Carolina (N.C.) Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is offering financial assistance to employers who have farmworkers with valid H-2A visas that must quarantine during the 2021 growing season due to COVID-19.
Two million dollars will be available through the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services COVID-19 Farmworker Quarantine Reimbursement program. The N.C. General Assembly approved the funding for this aid program.
“Farmworkers have always been critical to agriculture, but the pandemic has shown how essential a healthy workforce is to agriculture and our food supply,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “While it is a priority for all farmworkers to get vaccinated, this program will enable employers to safely quarantine workers who test positive for COVID-19 and hopefully minimize spread to their coworkers and others.”
Employers that have farmworkers will be eligible for reimbursement of the cost of meals and lodging for the duration of the quarantine period, not to exceed the per diem rates for federal employees. The employer on record for the farmworker with a valid H-2A visa, may submit a reimbursement request on behalf of any farmworker requiring to be quarantined following a positive test for COVID-19, provided the employer covered the initial eligible expenses out-of-pocket on behalf of the farmworker. The program will be for expenses incurred from March 11, 2021 through the duration of this year’s growing season.
The application period opens today and will continue through Dec. 15, 2021 or until program funds are exhausted. These funds are provided through CARES Act funding and subject to any changes to the federal legislation.
Details regarding the NCDA&CS COVID-19 Farmworker Quarantine Reimbursement Program will be available at http://www.ncagr.gov/QuarantineReimbursementProgram.htm. Please contact H2Acovidprogram2021@ncagr.gov with any questions regarding this program.