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Becker Forum 2018

January 15, 2018 @ 8:30 am - 4:30 pm

The 2018 Becker Forum will take place on Monday, January 15, one day prior to the opening of the Empire State Producers Expo. The forum will focus on agricultural workforce issues with three general themes: securing a legal agricultural workforce, labor law compliance and H-2A program topics.

Featured speaker Kristi Boswell from USDA will provide an overview regarding her agency’s activities aimed at improving opportunities for agricultural employers to attract and hire a qualified and legal workforce.

Other speakers will provide a review of changes in both state and federal laws as well as key employment practices to ensure labor law compliance. Belen Ledezma, New York State Monitor Advocate (NYDOL) will review key labor regulations and provide necessary posters for the farm workplace. In addition, Ann Margaret Pointer, attorney with Fisher Phillips, will review key components of federal labor laws that apply to farm employers with a focus on federal DOL inspections and housing.

The afternoon program will focus on information related to the H-2A Program. Current changes in the H-2A program will be highlighted. Since each year H-2A participation in New York increases, a panel of growers with experience using H-2A will guide forum participants through procedures that they used to effectively hire foreign-born H-2A workers.

A roundtable discussion with the speakers at the end of the afternoon will provide an opportunity for questions and discussion regarding critical workforce issues.

Registration for the Becker Forum will be available on the NYS Vegetable Growers Association website accompanying the Empire State Producers Expo information.

Here is the agenda for the Forum:

Farm Employment Practices:  Planning for the Future

Syracuse, NY


 8:30 a.m.        Registration

 9:00 a.m.        Welcome and Introduction

                         Industry involvement in State level labor issues

Rick Zimmerman, New York State Vegetable Growers

9:20 a.m.         Review of key labor regulations and regulatory changes

Belén Ledezma, New York State Monitor Advocate, NYDOL

10:00 a.m.      Break

10:15 a.m.       How will USDA be involved in agricultural labor policy?

Kristi Boswell, Special Assistant to the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture

 10:55 a.m.       Federal Labor Regulations including new programs, overview of forms, regulations and posting requirements – Ann Margaret Pointer, Attorney and Partner, Atlanta office of Fisher Phillips

11:45               Lunch

12:45 p.m.      Guidelines for making housing work and including H-2A Program requirements

1:25 p.m.        How other regions of the United States are using the H-2A Program – Kameron and Mark Martens Agri-Placements, Fairview, Oklahoma

2:05 p.m.        Review of the H-2A process – Kristi Boswell and Belén Ledezma

2:45 p.m.        Break

 3:00 p.m.        Producer panel:  Current status of H-2A and a few basics

Moderator: Paul Baker


Alison DeMarree – DeMarree Fruit Farms, Williamson, NY

Dan Henry – W.D. Henry and Son, Inc.

Kathleen Walker – Lakeview Orchards, Burt, NY

3:50 p.m.        Speaker Roundtable – Questions and answers with all of the speakers

4:30 p.m.        Adjourn



January 15, 2018
8:30 am - 4:30 pm
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Holiday Inn, Liverpool, NY
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Cornell University