Today’s H-2A program seems to be more rigorous as time goes by, but, the advantages of a reliable workforce helps to justify the grey hair and sleepless nights. Our Company has become reliant on our foreign workers. Since the time that we first brought them in, eleven years ago, the quality of our bees has increased dramatically. The consistent care that they deliver on a daily basis contributes greatly. Gone are the days that some workers claim that work had been done, and in fact it had not. We no longer have to worry about Friday morning’s workforce when they were paid on Thursday night. This was not a problem with all our workers, but there is never any evidence of lack of attention now. Keeping bees, with all of the challenges, is doing nothing but getting more difficult and expensive. The preservation of the H-2A program, including a shift to a more user friendly system, is something that is critical to all of the current and future users.
The best way that this can be accomplished is to work together to educate ourselves, then the politicians. I think that the experience with the government agencies trying to address the movement of H-2A workers, and having their answer to this being adding MSPA regulations, shows that guidance is needed to create a program that works for all. Our best chance to correct this problem is to work together. After we determine what will work, contact our Senators and Representatives, and get them to support the proposal that will address the pertinent issues and our real needs. With careful planning and care in creating a proposal, the chances are better to accomplish our goal. We have legal council that is well versed in Washington, and will be an asset in accomplishing this plan. When we are ready to go, use all of the political connections, and communicate with our Senators and Representatives, to support a reformed H-2A program that would meet the needs of Beekeepers, and Agriculture in general. I know these are lofty goals, but think that it is possible, and with the help of those that have an interest, it can be done.
AHPA H-2A Representative
Crystal was born in Maine and lived there until 1974 when she became involved with bees. She and Andy Card, Jr. own Merrimack Valley Apiaries and Evergreen Honey Company. Since that time she has worked in all aspects of the business at one time or another. More recently she has focused on raising queen cells and nucs in the South. All of the year is the time for administration. H-2A Visa issues and all of the other tasks that it takes to make these companies ready to maneuver the red tape highway of today’s business world is what keeps her busy. Her two son’s Wesley and Glenn and their respective families are now actively involved. Traveling back and forth from New England to Louisiana allows her to experience the best seasons of both worlds. Wes, Glenn and Joe Sanroma oversee the hands on bee work and movement, allowing her to concentrate on keeping everything going smoothly.