Bailey Nurseries has used the H-2A program since 2008. Many of its H-2A workers have been with the company for more than 10 years. The program has its pros and cons, and many growers wonder if it is right for them.
Joe Bailey, Human Resources Director at Bailey Nurseries says each operation has to analyze their situation and decide for themselves. For those growers who want to get involved with the program, he offers the following suggestions.
- Make sure you follow all of the program rules and regulations. Cutting corners will burn you in the end and make a bad name for the program. Plus, every delay in the application process can cause your workers to show up late.
- Train your supervisors on the program. It is too complicated not to give them a very good training and re-training on the program regulations each year.
- Make sure your supervisors buy-in to the program. You can’t afford to have managers questioning the program and things the company cannot control, such as having to provide and pay for housing and transportation.
- Make sure top management stands firmly behind the program. Your top leaders must be aligned and supportive in the face of the doubters when entering the program. If your top leaders get wishy-washy when the doubters start complaining about the program regulations, you will place a lot of stress on your human resources staff.
- Do not try to administer the H-2A application process on your own. Get good legal advice and use reputable people.