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Florida Farmers & the 'Guest Workers' Who Pick their Crops

Farmworker's Association of Florida

Florida farmers face acute needs for labor when the harvest comes, and in recent years they've relied on guest workers from other countries under the H-2A visa program to pick their crops. The visa locks the guest worker into a contract with their employer, who has to meet an array of obligations to those workers as they live and work in the U.S. Some see it as a model program, while others call it a program of last resort.

Bryan Moorefield, an anthropologist  pursuing his PhD from Brown University, spent six months researching Florida’s citrus industry and the H-2A guest workers it employs. He'll share what he's learned from interviews with these workers at home and in the field about the unique challenges they face surrounding legal status, working conditions, and employment contracts that have them return to their home country at the end of the harvest. 

Also joining the show is Mike Carlton, director of labor relations for the Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association, who workers with growers on the H-2A program to track employment records, worker housing, and other workplace safety standards. 

Matthew Smith is a reporter and producer of WGCU’s Gulf Coast Live.
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