South African couple, Manuel and Kathy Fick, are helping connect seasonal farmers from more than 80 foreign countries to large American farms in places like the Dakotas, Missouri, Texas, Nebraska, North Carolina and Kentucky, to fill jobs that are mostly spurned by American citizens. This report by Savannah Koval of The Mountaineer gives more details
America, a country that once thrived on an agriculture-based job demographic, is changing course — and a Haywood County business is profiting from this change.
USA Farm Labor recently celebrated a ribbon cutting ceremony for its third location expansion, on Dellwood Road in Waynesville.
Manuel and Kathy Fick moved to Indiana from South Africa before rooting their family in Haywood County in 2007, where they started the company in 2008.
“God led us to come to America so that we could provide a life line for South Africans,” said Manuel, the owner of USA Farm Labor.
USA Farm Labor connects seasonal farmers in more than 80 foreign countries, primarily in South Africa, to larger farms in places like the Dakotas, Missouri, Texas, Nebraska, North Carolina and Kentucky, to fill jobs that are mostly spurned by American citizens.
The individuals who come to America for the seasonal work are typically employed for 10 months on mostly crop, livestock or grain farms.
In North Carolina, 20,713 employees in agricultural positions were hired through programs that like USA Farm Labor that use the H-2A visa program available in the U.S. This means that 20,713 American citizens could have filled positions in the state, but instead, were filled with foreign employees eager for work.
USA Farm Labor is the third highest user of this program in the country.
Before USA Farm Labor places foreigners onto American farms, the farm itself must prove that they did everything in their power to hire U.S. citizens first.
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