MKC Blog > November 2020 > H-2A Innovation

H-2A Innovation

November 18, 2020
Efficiency and hard work during the busy harvest season are key to being successful. To better serve its member-owners during this time of increased traffic, MKC took the initiative to participate in the H-2A Temporary Agricultural Program.

The H-2A program allows U.S. employers to temporarily hire foreign workers to perform agricultural work when there is not a sufficient amount of able, willing and qualified U.S. workers available. The workers hired by MKC perform tasks pertaining to the cultivating or harvesting of agricultural commodities during the harvest season.H2A-photo-(1).jpg

According to Amy Meyers, MKC director of strategic initiatives, the H-2A program participants are skilled workers that fill critical seasonal roles.

“The keyword is skilled, meaning the job they are performing is in alignment with what they already do in an opposite season in their homeland,” Meyers says.

Many of the employees who participate the H-2A program already have training in electrical and diesel mechanics, leveraging MKC’s customer service and increasing its productivity. These employees typically spend time tendering, transporting grain, delivering seed, dumping trucks and filling in vacant roles.

“We get to more acres per day because they can drive trucks and tender,” says Adam Butler, Groveland senior location manager. “They bring a multitude of talents to the team we already have in place.”

According to Meyers, the concept of utilizing H-2A workers started in 2016 with an idea from the strategic plan to find opportunities to improve workforce needs.

“At that time, other sources were chosen to fill seasonal needs, but the groundwork was laid for when the timing was right, which happened to be in 2019,” Meyers says.

A total of 17 H-2A workers have joined the MKC team during its participation in the program. This year, MKC has a total of 12 workers, four of those workers returning from last year, including Max O’Brien, an H-2A program employee at the Groveland location.

O’Brien says he came to the program to provide for his family, which he’s unable to do in South Africa due to the high unemployment rate and low wages. An American dollar is equivalent to 16.45 rands, the currency in South Africa. The minimum wage in South Africa is only 18.68 rands per hour.

Although working in America has its financial benefits for these employees, O’Brian says his favorite thing about working in the states is experiencing the American way of life and seeing the countryside.

By utilizing this program, MKC gains valuable and skilled workers who continue to learn about the work they do as well as the company. 

“Everyone is helping everyone,” O’Brien says. “We’re helping the growers, the employees and the company. We jump in to help out wherever it is needed.”

Posted: 11/18/2020 8:54:00 PM by Katlin Allton | with 0 comments

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