Apr 11, 2019
WASHINGTON, DC -- Last week, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has launched two new features on farmers.gov to help farmers manage loans and apply for H-2A visas. The new features streamline two processes that are spread across multiple agencies and simplify a process that can be complex for customers.
H-2A visas allow non-immigrant foreign nationals entry into the United States for the purpose of seasonal or temporary agricultural work, and provide an important source of labor for farmers who anticipate a shortage of domestic employees during certain times of the year.
Phase I of the new H-2A release on farmers.gov includes a clear and accessible overview of the program, as well as an interactive checklist tool that features application requirements, fees, forms, and timelines tailored to farmers’ hiring needs. Phase II of the release will be rolled out over the next several months, and will include a streamlined application form that will seamlessly encompass the multiple agencies involved in the process.
“Customer service is our top priority at USDA, and these new features will help our customers as they manage their farm loans and navigate the H-2A temporary agricultural visa program,” said Secretary Perdue. “In my travels across the country, I have consistently heard people express a desire for greater use of technology in the way we deliver programs at USDA. As we adopt new technology, we are introducing simple yet innovative approaches to support our farmers, ranchers, producers, and foresters as they support the nation every day.”
The new self-service portal on farmers.gov now allows farmers to log in and view their loan information, history, and payments, giving them greater autonomy to manage their federal loans. The portal can be accessed via desktop, tablet, or phone.