'Welcoming The Stranger' Event Focusing on Migrant Laborers in Kentucky Agriculture

Oct 23, 2017

Credit Jeanna Glisson

The Kentucky Farm Bureau is hoping to raise awareness of the important role migrant labor plays in making the state’s agriculture system work.

Joe Cain is director of the bureau’s commodity division, and is the featured speaker at an event Tuesday night in Muhlenberg County.

He says he hopes any changes to the nation’s immigration laws will include updates to the H2A program, which allows agriculture employers to bring workers to the U.S. for seasonal work.

“Make it a little more transparent, make some of the application process that we go through with the H2A program more electronic. So those would be reforms to the H2A program that I think have bipartisan appeal, but would reduce the complexity we face whenever we go through the H2A program," Cain said.

Farmers, by law, have to first make attempts to hire domestic labor.

But Cain says finding enough domestic workers to fill Kentucky’s seasonal harvesting positions is an impossible task.

Cain is speaking at the event called “Welcoming The Stranger”, focused on exploring the role immigrant laborers play in Kentucky communities.

That event is at First United Methodist Church in Central City from 6 to 8 pm Tuesday.