Farmworkers have been historically left out of moral and legal discussions, with their fates tied to Jim Crow-era policies. Yet, they are essential to our overall survival.
Our families and our traditions acknowledge this workforce as human beings worthy of dignity, respect, and protection regardless of immigration status. The commonwealth of Virginia must create legal protections to make sure this community receives fair treatment under the law. Farmworkers suffer abuse, discrimination, and human rights violations right before our eyes. You can help us advocate for protections and get rid of racist laws!
Join us in Prayer!
Although the laws are still stacked against farmworkers, we know our faith calls us to both prayer and action. Share this Prayer service for Farmworkers with your faith community, and reach out to Sheila if you'd like to have a speaker on migrant and farm worker issues! Sign up below to keep informed as farm worker issues come up in the General Assembly and the regulations process!
Volunteer to Advocate Farmworker Justice with us
Faith & Farmworkers
We are hosting a Migrant Ministry summit on September 30 to build connections and work toward a brighter tomorrow
Black Farmers & Labor Movements
"By the 1920s, black people owned about a million farms, which is actually 14 percent of all the farms in the country at that time, which reflected the population of black people. But in the decades that followed, that number has dropped drastically, from 14 percent to below 2 percent."
In October 2021, Lawyers for Good Government released a report about the lack of legal protections for child farmworkers. Check it out HERE.
Farmworker Justice: Q & A
There are an estimated 2.5 million farmworkers laboring on our nation’s farms and ranches, cultivating and harvesting crops and raising and tending to livestock. More than 50,000 people are do this work in Virginia.
Farmworkers are all those who labor on farms. They include immigrants and citizens, people with guest worker visas, people without documentation, and migrants who follow various crops.
Farmworkers are located in almost every county of Virginia, but particularly concentrated along the Eastern Shore , central Virginia, and southern Virginia.
Source: Virginia Employment Commission
- Farmworkers are not covered by Virginia’s minimum wage. Because of racist decisions in the Jim Crow era, farm workers were excluded from Virginia’s first minimum wage law, and that decision was upheld in the 2021 General Assembly. Farmworkers deserve to be compensated for their work .
- Farmworkers work long hours in strenuous conditions. Since farm labor is so closely tied to environmental conditions, workers are sometimes expected to work 14 hour days, even seven days a week. Farmworkers deserve protections from heat stress and just pay for their long hours of labor.
- Farm work can expose children to dangerous conditions. Currently in Virginia, children are allowed to labor on farms, even in tobacco fields with high concentrations of carcinogens. Children ought to be protected from this harsh work and the health concerns, and at least get parental permission to work on tobacco farms.
The H2A and H2B guest workers programs are temporary work visas that are given to foreign workers for less than a year. The H2A program is solely for agricultural work like planting, harvesting, spraying tomatoes, potatoes, broccoli, other produce, nursery/ornamental plants, wine grapes, fruit trees, hemp, sod, Christmas trees, hay, oysters, clams. The H-2B program is for non-agricultural work like landscaping, yard maintenance, seafood processor, fish bait packer tree trimmer, mover, swimming pool cleaner, construction laborer, cook, hospitality industry worker, tent installer, ice cream vendor.