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Central IL farmer happy with H-2A experience

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Central IL farmer happy with H-2A experience

A central Illinois farmer says the H-2A Temporary Agricultural Workers program has been critical to their operation.

Jeff Brown, who grows corn, soybeans and wheat, tells Brownfield…

“It’s a wonderful thing.” He says: “This year we have five South Africans who could come and we are giving them the opportunity here that they can earn money safely and send it home. It helps us a lot because we can do things that are difficult. to find workers in the United States. People who want to work and stay with you.”

Brown says the changes made to the H-2A wage structure in 2023 have made it more expensive, but he says it’s worth it.

“We have to pay more for labor in Illinois, so it might attract the cream of the crop,” he says, “and they want to be in Illinois because of the wages we have to pay. And then we can get better employees.”

He says they have been using the program for several years and have built strong relationships.

“Once you get a few good ones, they hire a few more good ones as friends or family and we get a pretty good network of guys to work with.” He says, “So we appreciate their commitment to coming here and treating them like family.”

Brown says they have a reliable workforce and employees from South Africa return home with incomes comparable to doctors and lawyers in their home countries.

AUDIO: Jeff Brown – Macon & Christian County IL Farmer