The H2A visa program allows agricultural employers to hire temporary, seasonal workers from other countries during peak seasons. A labor shortage is expected to continue to drive the need for foreign workers in Oregon.

Hop farmer Jen Coleman was nervous about using H2A workers. The visa program allows agricultural employers to hire temporary, seasonal workers from other countries during peak seasons such as harvest.

The program comes with costs to farmers: housing, wages, paperwork and application fees. So Coleman had reservations. But she “fell in love” with her team of employees “as soon as they got here.”

That was in 2016. Coleman hired 28 H2A workers from Mexico. Now, she hires more than 100 temporary workers from September through October to harvest hops at her family’s three properties in Mt. Angel, St. Paul and Independence.

To qualify for H2A workers, employers must prove they cannot fill open positions with domestic workers. Farmers like Coleman say it provides critical staffing for jobs they cannot otherwise fill.



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