By Clint Thompson
The Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association (GFVGA) wants to help its specialty crop farmers stay compliant with H-2A and other federal regulations. The Georgia Ag Labor Relations Forum is designed to provide producers all the information they need to remain on the right side of compliance.
The annual two-day event, scheduled for Nov. 14-15 at the University of Georgia Tifton Campus Conference Center, will provide valuable information for growers who utilize the H-2A program.
Chris Butts, executive vice president of the GFVGA, discussed the value of what will be presented in November.
“Information is key. Knowing what they have to do and what they have to provide is key. Keeping up with all of the changes that come about with the (H-2A) program, it’s complicated and complex. It’s not something that we should take lightly,” Butts said. “We think that two days provide very needed education to help people understand and stay on the right side of those complicated regulations.”
One topic that will be discussed is heat and its impact on farm workers. Ellen Hendley, Ag Works in Valdosta, Georgia, will talk about the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) heat policy and what it means for growers moving forward.
“We’ve seen a renewed focus on heat stress and what growers are doing to provide relief during hot times. The good news is Georgia growers know how to work in heat. We’re used to it. You see everything from adjusting schedules to not working in the hot part of the day to providing more breaks and more water,” Butts said.
“Again, growers need to be aware of this focus from the government and the regulations and inspections that are coming. We’re encouraging growers, not only to have a plan but have resources and materials there for themselves and their employees on how to deal with heat stress. That will be a featured part of the Ag Labor Forum. We’ll make sure that growers have the tools they need in order to stay on the right side of heat stress compliance.”