May 17, 2022  |  VIEW IN BROWSER


From the Desk of the Executive Director

By Daniel Sheehan, AFOP Executive Director
May 7, 2022

Greetings to all on this lovely May day in Washington, D.C.  I often joke the weather is pleasant here about four weeks a year: the first two weeks of May and the last two weeks of October.  The rest of the year’s weather is a bit dicey, especially during the summer months.  Oh, well; that’s the way it is living close to all that hot air in the District. 
Things are looking good here at AFOP.  After a very successful winter board meeting and leadership conference on Capitol Hill in February, our planning is well underway for this September’s national conference in Litchfield Park, Arizona, just west of downtown Phoenix.  The site is The Wigwam, the former corporate headquarters of Goodyear, constructed in the early 1920s.  It’s a very special place, right down to the tire tread motif in the windows of the original structure.  The campus, and it is a campus, is laid out along smooth concrete paths that are conducive to walking, or, if you’d rather, a quick golf cart lift; one only need to call the concierge and a cart will be on its way to you without delay.  The hotel rooms are set in cabins with a southwestern desert look of adobe and terra cotta roofs.  And one is never far from a delicious meal, provided all the way from the downright affordable to fine dining.  The place is also replete with a spa, swimming pools, and – did I fail to mention? – golf.  Greens and greens of it.  For you duffers out there, be sure to ready your clubs and shave your handicaps. 
Beyond all the lovely amenities, the national conference itself promises to be another powerhouse event.  In addition to a heavy United States Department of Labor presence bringing all the necessary updates and explanations you will need to run your programs, we also will feature the wrap-up of the 2021-2022 AFOP Training Institute (ATI) and the 2022-2023 ATI kickoff, featuring the marvelous Jodie Sue Kelly as ATI trainer, to reinforce and expand your staffs’ ability to deliver the program for your agencies.  You and your team will not want to miss it.  The AFOP Conference Committee has made tremendous headway in planning, so watch your emails and the AFOP website for the conference agenda coming soon. 
Spring is also a busy time for advocating for the National Farmworker Jobs Program (NFJP) here in Washington.  Happily, the House Education and Labor Committee recently approved a bill to reauthorize the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014, the law that preserves NFJP as a national program, that includes nearly every program improvement AFOP recommended to Congress last year.  The next step for that measure, H. R. 7309, is consideration by the full House of Representatives.  AFOP has also presented its requests to the Committee’s Senate counterpart – the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions – but we do not expect that panel to move on WIOA reauthorization until the next Congress. 
Of course, each year Congress must fund NFJP through its yearly Labor-Health and Human Services-Education appropriations bill.  To help secure a healthy appropriation for NFJP, AFOP develops each spring a request that includes joint letters from lawmakers to the Appropriations Committees seeking NFJP increases, formal AFOP letters of request, written AFOP congressional testimony, completed forms required by the Appropriations Committees, and letters from members of our community to the House and Senate educating its members on the success of and continuing serious need for a robust national farmworker career and housing services program.  AFOP is now in the process of working up its fiscal year 2023 appropriations request.  In support of that I cannot stress enough the crucial importance of our community expressing support now to Congress for NFJP.  Everyone can do that.  Every one of us should do that.  It is your constitutional right, after all.  Be sure to use it. 
I hope everyone has a productive and successful spring.  Thank you for all you are doing to help the nation’s farmworkers secure a brighter future for themselves and their families.  As always, I salute you for it.


CVOC Spreads the Word about NFJP with Face Masks, COVID Kits, and Food Packages

May 3, 2022

AFOP Member Central Valley Opportunity Center (CVOC) conducted an outreach blitz to farmworker communities in April, distributing flyers, food, COVID supplies, and more at dozens of locations and events.  They even had an Easter egg hunt and vaccine clinic.  Altogether, CVOC staff distributed thousands of supplies, including:
  • Sanitizers – 1,683
  • Face Masks – 36,585
  • COVID Test Kits – 526
  • PPE Kits – 2,295
CVOC Executive Director Jorge De Nava said he was proud of his staff for all their efforts, and that “everyone had a part in this, from sourcing, storing and paying for supplies, to selecting and coordinating locations for staff to set up shop, reporting to our funding sources all of the great work we do, and promoting our efforts on social media.”

Click here for more information about CVOC’s ongoing events.

Hard Work Leads to Success

Kansas SER Corporation
By Roberta Pianalto

Kansas SER participant, Taye, wanted to become a mechanic but wasn’t sure how he would pay for it.  When he started researching other ways to pay for tuition, he was introduced to Roberta Pianalto, a Client Service Agent with SER Corporation.
Thanks to Taye’s background as a seasonal farmworker, SER was able to assist Taye with tuition, as well as housing expenses and transportation costs. Whenever Taye struggled to make ends meet while in school, he remembered the promise he made to himself to become successful.  This always motivated him to work even harder.  Roberta also helped Taye with career services, which included interviewing advice, work ethics, and money management tips.

Upon successful completion of his training in May 2021, Taye received multiple job offers.  Ultimately, he decided on Hoxie Implement, who offered Taye more money than he imagined plus a good benefit package.

Taye cherishes the life skills he learned when he had limited income and worked many jobs to make ends meet. He is also thankful for the help and encouragement SER Corporation gave him while he was going through training. It was the extra help he needed to achieve his career goal. 

Congratulations, Taye!

Felipe’s Journey

California Human Development
By Yeny Cardona
March 4, 2022

Felipe came to the United States when he was 18 years old, and he had a specific goal in mind:  to work with children.  A friend referred him to California Human Development, where he was found eligible for the NFJP and Temporary Housing Programs.  Felipe mentioned that he wanted something where he can work with kids, and CHD was able to connect with the Director of the Boys and Girls Club.  They also helped him pay for work clothes and some of his utility bills.

Felipe was then enrolled in CHD’s Work Experience Program (WEX) and he began to gain the skills and experience he needed at the Boys and Girls Club. He participated in the Academic Service Program and was introduced to leadership roles, where he was able to develop more skills in guidance and mentorship.  He worked extremely hard and, thanks to his determination, found a job opportunity at a nearby school district as a Teacher’s Aide.  He is now living his dream of working with children.

Congratulations, Felipe!

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2022 National Long-Sleeve Shirt Drive a Big Success!

AFOP Health & Safety

AFOP Health and Safety is grateful for everyone that participated and donated a long-sleeve shirt during National Farmworker Awareness Week (NFAW).  During the week of March 26 – April 2nd, AFOP and its national partners were able to collect 12,231 long-sleeve shirts for a total of 91,815 since 2014.  Also, AFOP partnered with 27 AFOP members and 98 non-AFOP members who collected long-sleeve shirts or supported the social media awareness campaign.

These long-sleeve shirts will be distributed by AFOP’s network of NFTP trainers during their pesticide safety and heat stress prevention trainings.  The gently used long-sleeve shirts will help prevent exposure to pesticides by covering the skin, which is the most common route of pesticide poisoning.  The shirts will also help prevent heat-related illness from constant exposure to extreme weather.

THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT, and for helping farmworkers stay healthy and safe! 

National Farmworker Women’s Health Week

AFOP Health & Safety

During the week of May 15-21, AFOP Health and Safety Programs will be celebrating the National Farmworker Women’s Health Week.  NFWHW is a public awareness campaign aimed at increasing public consciousness of the health risks farmworker women – and, by extension, their families - face from working in the fields.  The goal is to create a lasting conversation about the health issues facing farmworker women as well as support for programs and efforts that work to mitigate those health problems, thus improving farmworker women’s health overall.
JOIN US!  You can support the effort as an organization or as an individual:
  1. Enroll your organization in the NFWHW Campaign HERE!
  2. Share our daily messages from our TOOLKIT on social media.  Make sure to follow and tag us @afophealth (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram).
  3. Use the SPEAK OUT SIGNS:  
    • DOWNLOAD and print the signs
    • Take a photo
    • Post on social media and tag us.  Make sure to use #NFWHW.
  4. Buy the NFWHW campaign merch and help us spread an important message, HERE! (T-shirt size: Small to 5XL)
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CIFC Contest Now Open:  “I’m a Farmworker Child, See me!”

Children in the Fields Campaign

On April 4th, AFOP’s Children in the Fields Campaign announced this year’s contest theme: “I’m a Farmworker Child, See Me” or “Yo Soy un Niño/a Trabajador Agrícola, Mírame!
The contest is open to migrant and seasonal farmworker children in the US between ages 10 to 18.   First place winners will automatically be entered in a raffle to win a tablet.  Deadline to enter is July 15th, 2022. 
Winners will be notified via telephone or by mail by August 30th and announced on August 31st via CIFC's Facebook Live at 12:30 (ET).
To enter the contest, follow the 2022 guidelines and fill out the application form in English or español.

Please stay tuned and follow us on social media for updates at @CIFCampaign. 
Instagram  – FacebookTwitter
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White House Releases FY2023 Budget, Reiterating Commitment to Reducing Poverty

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP)
April 6, 2022

On March 28th, 2022, the White House released President Joe Biden’s $5.8 trillion proposed budget for federal spending in fiscal year 2023.  In the budget, the President requested a robust increase for the National Farmworker Jobs Program (NFJP), preservation of the 150-percent-of-poverty NFJP low-income definition, and continuing authority for DOL to process grant plans ahead of the July 1 start of the new program year.
The Administration used the release of the 2023 budget as an opportunity to reiterate its commitment to an economic package that reduces costs for families, addresses climate change, and raises revenues to pay for these investments and shrink the deficit. The budget points to priorities proposed in the President’s previous budget and under discussion in the context of the economic package, including getting health coverage to people in states that have refused to expand Medicaid; helping families afford costs such as health care and prescription drugs, child care, elder care, and housing; expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit for very low-paid workers without children; expanding the Child Tax Credit to help families with low incomes make ends meet at a time of rising costs; addressing climate change; and responsibly raising revenues on high-income households and profitable corporations.
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Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on April 5 (Evan Vucci/AP)

Time Running out for Bipartisan Immigration Negotiations

Bloomberg Law
April 14, 2022

Supporters of legal status for immigrant farmworkers are holding out hope that Congress will prioritize the agricultural labor force in nascent bipartisan immigration negotiations after previous efforts fell apart.  Advocates see this year as a critical window of opportunity, with only eight months left in the congressional session, and immigration politics will likely get more fraught after new members take their seats next year.  The effort to create a path to legal status for farmworkers got additional attention amid broader worker shortages, supply chain snafus, and new stress to the global food system stemming from Russia’s war in Ukraine.
Sens. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) and Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) have renewed conversations on proposals to secure the agricultural workforce and overhaul guestworker visas, Crapo said.  He said that he’s anxious for the Senate’s top immigration negotiators to work out overarching issues so farmworker measures can move forward as part of a broader prospective package.  “Bennet and I continue to basically wait for those guys to get things ironed out so that we can engage,” he said, referring to Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and John Cornyn (R-Texas). 
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Migrant workers harvest Vidalia onions in Toombs County, GA.  Photo Credit:  Atlanta Journal-Constitution 2007.

‘Beyond Troubling’: Current, Former Government Officials Tied to Human Trafficking Probe in Georgia

By Maria Pérez, Drew Favakeh and Abraham Kenmore
April 19, 2022

Two Georgia labor officials whose jobs involved protecting or advocating for farmworkers have links to one of the largest U.S. human trafficking cases ever prosecuted – termed “Blooming Onion” – involving foreign agricultural laborers brought here on seasonal visas.
One individual indicted in the case, Brett Donovan Bussey, left government service in 2018.  The other, Georgia State Monitor Advocate Jorge Gomez, remains on the job and hasn’t been accused of wrongdoing, but officers searched his home in connection with the case and his sister and nephew are among those indicted.
In October, a grand jury indicted Bussey and 23 others for conspiring to engage in forced labor and other related crimes.  Federal prosecutors say the defendants required guest farmworkers to pay illegal fees to obtain jobs, withheld their IDs so they could not leave, made them work for little or no pay, housed them in unsanitary conditions and threatened them with deportation and violence.
Two workers died in the heat, according to the indictment.  Court records say five workers were kidnapped and one of them was raped.
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One Investment Firm's Bold Experiment to Finance the Future of American Farming

The Time
By Maria Gallucci
April 15, 2022

Land is an increasingly attractive asset, judging by the current land investment boom. 
Unfortunately, that boom is accelerating the cultural shift in farming communities away from hands-on, small-scale producers toward digitally managed farm systems with faraway landlords, whose priority is generating returns quickly, says Anuradha Mittal, founder and executive director of the Oakland Institute, a think tank in California.  Along with environmental impacts, she says, the push for profits can create a “race to the bottom” in wages and working conditions for farm laborers.
But now a different type of farm owner has come onto the agricultural scene, The Time reports:  a private investment fund called Farmland LP.
Farmland LP’s fund managers acquire conventional farmland and convert it to organic operations; they then lease land to farmers growing specialty crops such as berries, vegetables, and wine grapes. Since launching in 2009, Farmland LP has snapped up 5,800 acres across Northern California, including the fertile fields just east of Brentwood, near the city of Stockton. The fund is among a handful of U.S.-based firms, including Iroquois Valley, Dirt Capital Partners, and Grasslands LLC, that are using their financial and farming expertise to remake the American agricultural landscape.
Farmland LP’s fields can’t use chemical herbicides.  So farmworkers use hands and hoes to manually remove weeds that threaten to choke seeds as they sprout from the ground.  The practice is labor-intensive and time-consuming, and it’s partly why organic produce is more expensive to grow and buy in stores.
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ETA Proposes Changes to Wagner-Peyser Act That Would Strengthen MSFW Protections

April 19th, 2022

The U.S. Department of Labor announced possible changes to federal labor rules that it said would improve the delivery of unemployment benefits and other services to migrant and seasonal farmworkers.
The notice of proposed rulemaking, put forth by the agency's Employment and Training Administration, would revise the Wagner–Peyser Act to make sure all states have uniform U.S. Employment Service staffing requirements, returning the Employment Service staffing to a previous model that existed for decades.  It would also revise data collection requirements so that the number of MSFWs accessing supportive services – and not just career services - would be recorded.
When Employment Service staffing requirements were changed in 2019 - purportedly to give states more flexibility - AFOP objected to it in the public comments with the view that it would negatively impact farmworkers. 
View AFOP’s 2019 letter here.
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US Department of Labor Seeks to Increase Southeast Agricultural Industry’s Compliance

USDOL Wage & Hour Division
March 17, 2022

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division is continuing its multi-year education and enforcement initiative to increase compliance with federal labor laws in the Southeast’s agricultural industry.  In addition to enforcement activity, the initiative provides compliance assistance to employers and educates workers and other stakeholders.
The division and industry stakeholders in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee, are exploring methods to raise industry awareness and provide tools to increase compliance.  In the months ahead, the division will complete investigations and provide outreach to workers and employers – and when necessary – leverage H-2A debarment and certificate revocations.
In 2021, investigators in the division’s Southeast Region found violations in 81 percent of the nearly 300 investigations they completed of agricultural employers. These investigations found that the employers owed more than $1.9 million to more than 4,000 employees and led the division to assess more than $1.7 million in civil money penalties. During that timeframe, the division debarred seven Southeast growers and farm labor contractors from eligibility to participate in the H-2A temporary labor certification agricultural guest worker program.
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Farm Labor Contractor Pays Penalties and Back Wages to Blueberry Workers

March 31, 2022

A labor contractor who provided farmworkers to harvest blueberries in Venus, Florida, failed to reimburse them for the cost of their visa fees in violation of federal law, a U.S. Department of Labor investigation has found.
The department’s Wage and Hour Division determined Jorge Marin– operating as Marin J. Corp. in Avon Park – violated program requirements that prohibit cost-shifting by failing to reimburse the workers.
As a result of the investigation, the division recovered $9,500 in back wages for the affected workers. In addition, the employer paid a $37,500 civil money penalty to address the H-2A temporary agricultural workers visa program violations.
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Farmworkers Would Benefit from Permanently Strengthened Policies

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP)
By George Fenton
April 13, 2022

Congress should make more lasting improvements in the economic and health security of essential workers and millions of others who do important work to keep our communities functioning.  A range of concrete reforms would make a meaningful difference:
  • Expand the Child Tax Credit to include permanent full refundability (ensuring that children in families with low or no income get the full credit) and issue it monthly. The American Rescue Plan’s expansion of the Child Tax Credit, which included these provisions as well as an increase in the credit amount and eligibility for children through age 17, is benefiting families of more than 1.5 million elementary and middle school teachers, over 1 million truck and delivery drivers, and over 800,000 nursing, psychiatric, and home health aides for tax year 2021 (see Table 1). Gains from an expanded credit would accrue to essential workers’ children for decades to come.

  • Extend the Rescue Plan’s expanded EITC for workers not raising children in the home. Cashiers, home health aides, and food preparers are among the essential workers who would benefit from such an extension (see Table 2). More than 1 million cashiers would see a lasting income boost if the American Rescue Plan’s temporary EITC expansion were made permanent.

  • Close the Medicaid coverage gap. Some 5 million essential workers get their coverage through Medicaid; another 558,000 who are currently uninsured would benefit from closing the coverage gap.

  • Extend the temporary American Rescue Plan premium tax credit increases, which expire after 2022. This would give people with low incomes access to affordable health coverage through the ACA marketplace.

  • Provide substantial funding for states to offer free preschool education to 3- and 4-year-olds and to make child care affordable to families with low or moderate incomes. 
Congress should craft economic legislation that includes these and other advances to promote the well-being of people working for low pay and their families, including those who were heralded as heroes during the pandemic and whose work will be no less important as the pandemic recedes.

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It’s Not Too Late to Help Families Get the Expanded Child Tax Credit

The Partnership for America's Children and Coalition on Human Needs Team
May 5, 2021

Families can still claim the full 2021 Child Tax Credit (CTC) - up to $3,600 per child per family!  Find out how to help families get the CTC by joining a webinar on Thursday, May 19th from 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm ET.
The webinar will focus on how you can help families get the CTC using the soon-to-be re-launched simplified online filing portal, GetCTC, through which families without tax filing obligations can more easily file to get this money.  They will also discuss how you can support individuals who may be eligible for other credits in claiming all the funds to which they are entitled.  You do NOT have to be a tax expert to help families.
Register in advance in order to receive the slides and recording after the training. There will be simultaneous Spanish interpretation during the webinar and a translated slide deck will be shared after the presentation.  
Register here.

States Have Flexibility to Move TANF Work Programs in an Antiracist Direction

By Ladonna Pavetti, PH.D. and Ali Safawi
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP)
April 21, 2022

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) was billed by its supporters as an effort to improve cash assistance recipients’ employment opportunities. Instead, it laid the foundation for states to perpetuate racist ideas that have dominated cash assistance programs since their inception. Parents who receive cash assistance from TANF are required to participate in work programs that keep them in the same low-paying, unstable jobs that often led them to TANF, and if they can’t meet TANF’s requirements, they face having their cash benefits taken away. But using existing flexibility, states can and should move their TANF work programs in an antiracist direction, aimed at respecting parents’ choices, recognizing each family’s strengths, treating families with dignity and respect, and investing in families to help them realize their full potential.
Read the full report


Additional Pesticide Safety Funding Available from PERC

Pesticide Educational Resources Collaborative (PERC)
May 2, 2022

The Pesticide Educational Resources Collaborative (PERC) has just announced funding opportunities for Agricultural Community-Based Projects.  These projects will serve farmworkers, agricultural pesticide handlers, their families, and/or their communities by contributing to the safe use of pesticides and/or working safely in areas where pesticides are used.  2-4 awards will be made of up to $200,000 each.   Eligible applicants include nonprofit organizations.
The Request for Applications (RFA) opens on May 2, 2022, and applications are due by June 1st.  There is an information session on May 18, 2022 (sign up here!). The notification will occur July 1, 2022 and the award allocation will begin on August 31, 2022.
If you are already enrolled in AFOP’s NFTP, this funding can supplement it. 
Please direct your questions to
Photo Credit:  Sisters of the Skies

Aviation Workforce Development Grants Announced

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
April 8, 2022

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is accepting applications (due June 10, 2022) for Aviation Workforce Development Grants for Aircraft Pilots and Aviation Maintenance Technical Workers.
The FAA is providing grants to academia and the aviation community to help prepare a more inclusive talent pool of pilots and aviation maintenance technicians, to inspire and recruit the next generation of aviation professionals.
Two grant opportunities exist – one for aircraft pilots, and another for aviation maintenance technical workers.  Grants are available to accredited institutions of higher education, air carriers, state or local government entities, as well as various other organizations. 
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Mental Health Needs of Youth in Employment Programs

Department of Health & Human Services
March 22, 2022

The Surgeon General recently released an advisory report, "Protecting Young People's Mental Health," in which the devastating impacts of the pandemic and the alarming increases in mental health needs of young people are outlined. 

The Advisory includes essential recommendations for the institutions that surround young people and shape their day-to-day lives—schools, community organizations, health care systems, technology companies, media, funders and foundations, employers, and government. They all have an important role to play in supporting the mental health of children and youth.

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Chart: Center for American Progress  Source: U.S. Census Bureau, "ACS 5-Year Estimates 5-Year Estimates – Public Use Microdata Sample (2019)," available at (last accessed February 2022).

Occupational Segregation in America

Center on American Progress (CAP)
March 29, 2022

The Center on American Progress published a new report on the causes and effects of occupational segregation.  
Occupational segregation – the over-or-underrepresentation of a demographic group in a job category – is caused and perpetuated by policies, legislation, and societal norms that have targeted historically marginalized communities for centuries. The economic consequences, among others, are diminished wages and economic security for those specific demographic groups, disproportionately women of color broadly, as well as any worker in the job.
The thorough and wide-ranging report highlights the many ways occupational segregation, like all forms of systemic discrimination, are engrained in our economy and society overall.
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Coalition on Human Needs Celebrates the “Very Good News” of Biden Administration’s Ending Inhumane Rejection of Asylum Seekers

Coalition on Human Needs
April 1, 2022

Statement of Deborah Weinstein, Executive Director, Coalition on Human Needs, on the welcome ending of Title 42 expulsions of migrants on public health grounds: 
 “The Coalition on Human Needs applauds the announcement by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that it is terminating its Title 42 public health order that suspended the rights of people from even making a claim for refuge in the United States, effective May 23.  Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas has announced that DHS is expanding its capacity to process new arrivals. 
This is very good news for thousands of desperate people.  It also affirms the rule of law and the urgent need to carry out federal policy in accordance with human rights."
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The AFOP Washington Newsline (ISSN# 1056-8565) is produced by the Association of Farmworker Opportunity Programs (AFOP), a national federation of agencies serving migrant and seasonal farmworkers. AFOP’s mission is to improve the quality of life for migrant and seasonal farmworkers and their families by promoting self-sufficiency through employment and training opportunities, educational attainment, and health and safety.

The publication is funded by subscriptions and the members of AFOP. The Washington Newsline receives no financial support from the federal government. Staff may be reached by calling (202) 963-3200.
Association of Farmworker Opportunity Programs

1150 Connecticut Avenue, N.W., Suite 315
Washington, D.C. 20036

Direct: (202) 963-3200

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