Another push at the federal level would put an end to the H-2A guestworker program, which many Washington sheep ranchers depend on. According to the Western Range Association, the Washington D.C.-based group, Farmworker Justice, is on the attack and is targeting the highly successful program which allows U.S. ranchers to hire guestworkers year-round. The group’s proposal – detailed in a 44-page report – calls for an end to the sheepherder exemption to the H-2A program and the year-round status of guestworker visas.
As a result of the proposal, several lawsuits have been filed at the federal level, in various other states and here in Washington. If successful, the future of sheepherding in Washington could be in jeopardy.