The farmers who worked in Hudson Valley, New York, the second largest apple growers in the United States were recognized for their participation of 15, 20, 25, 30 years and above.
In presenting the certificate on behalf of Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller, Minister of Labour and Social Security, the Hon. Derrick Kellier lauded the farmers for their many years of service to the programme. He pointed out how integral they were to the continuation of the programme.
Addressing the farmers at M.G. Hurd Farm, Newburgh, New York on Wednesday, August 19, Minister Kellier told the farmers that his ministry is actively engaging in crafting initiatives in partnership with various educational and vocational institutions geared towards training potential farm workers for the overseas labour market in the rudiments of farming techniques.
He said this helps to stimulate the process that goes towards maintaining a pool of workers equipped and trained to participate in the programme.
Minister Kellier alluded to plans to increase the numbers of farm workers who participate on an annual basis. He urged employers to use their influence in expand the potential employer-base.
The Minister updated the farmers regarding the recent changes to the labour laws of the United States as it relates to the United States Jamaica Seasonal Agriculture H2A Program (Farm Worker Program). . Workers are now responsible for their own health care, personal welfare and families back home. Most importantly, farmers should be aware of the changes and actively engage in filing tax returns in a timely and annual manner.
“It is going to be in everybody’s interest to do so, since this has now become an inescapable feature of the United States Jamaica Seasonal Agriculture Programme,” Minister Kellier said.
In light of these regulatory changes employers are implored to remind their employees to protect themselves as all times.
The awardees were drawn from several farms - W.G. Minard, Pordiglia, Hudson River and M. G. Hurd - in the Hudson Valley area.