Labor Department Follows Sheep Industry Methodology on Herder Wage Increases

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The Department of Labor’s H-2A Herder Final Rule followed much of the sheep industry’s proposed methodology concerning wages and open range.

The American Sheep Industry Association says the organizations near 500 comments helped craft the rule, which was published in the Federal Register on Friday. Changes to the H-2A rule as originally proposed would have financially crippled many western producers who utilize the program, according to the Association. ASI Executive Director Peter Orwick said “The department will implement a wage formula tied to the federal minimum wage similar to our recommendation, and while it is a significant cost increase that won’t fit all ranches, the modification at least provides most farms and ranches the opportunity to sustain their sheep operation.” The original proposal would have tripled wages.