Data recently released by the Department of Labor’s Office of Foreign Labor Certification indicates that U.S. farmers and ranchers continue to demand an increasingly large number of foreign workers via the H-2A program. In the second quarter of fiscal 2018, DOL certified 80,348 H-2A positions nationally, up more than 16 percent from the second quarter of fiscal 2017 when DOL certified 68,999 positions. Even more impressive, Q2 2018 position certifications are more than 150 percent higher than the same period just five years ago.
Many farms and ranches will be helped by the recently enacted estate tax exemption of $11 million per person indexed for inflation and the continuation of stepped-up basis, but the threat of a return to the $5.5 million per-person exemption in 2026 highlights the need for permanent relief, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation.
University farms continue to be sites for ag education and research that will be put to use by local farmers. They're also gaining importance as recruitment tools, attracting non-ag students into the industry.