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Joel's Dirt: The latest on H2B, and our spring preview

Hopefully we are moving towards the end of the coronavirus pandemic (my in-laws got their first shots last week!)—and we have a new President. We are excited for change in 2021. We continue to be spoiled with our career being mostly outdoors, which allows our business to be somewhat un-effected by the pandemic. If anything, we were busier in 2020 than ever, as people were home analyzing their landscapes.

Though the government continues to greatly influence our business—from taxes to staffing. I am sure most of you are familiar with our legal, Hispanic seasonal staff. Most of whom we get through the H2B visa program that the federal government has had in place since 1996. Ever since the 9/11 terrorist attack, our government has looked at immigration differently.

The H2B visa program seems to get more complex every year. As many of you know, the demand for seasonal workers far exceeds the number of visas available. Just like last year, this year there were almost 5,000 application for almost 97,000 workers, yet only 33,000 visas. To fairly process the applications, they conducted a lottery placing applications into groups A thru E. With group A alone including 34,000 people. In 2020, we were fortunate to get in Group A. Unfortunately, in 2021 we were put in Group D. No workers were selected from Groups D or E last year.

We are fortunate to have secured Permanent Resident Cards (green cards) for many of our workers a few years ago, so they will be here, but the likelihood of our H2B support staff being here in 2021 is slim. We are making adjustments to our schedule to accommodate for the staff we know will be here, and are confident that we can get our work done, but we are always looking for help! If you know of anyone available even part-time—high school or college students, teachers, or retired individuals who enjoy working outdoors—there are a variety of tasks they can do, from washing trucks, to weeding the M.J. gardens, to cleaning and organizing the shop, to watering annuals. They don’t need to commit to full-time, we will work with their availability.

Looking forward to warmer weather!

We’re counting less than 60 days until the first day of Spring!!

See you soon,

Joel John

P.S. For more information on the H2B process and how you can help get more attention to our Congressman and Senators, give Molly a call. 614.873.7333


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