Wed., January 23, 2013 6:36pm (EST)

Funding Cut For Farming Liason Workers
By Associated Press
Updated: 1 year ago

ATLANTA  —  
After cracking down on illegal immigrants, Georgia may eliminate a program meant to help farmers navigate the complicated process for getting visas for migrant laborers.  Republican Gov. Nathan Deal's budget plan calls for cutting $150,000 in funding for two liaison positions at the Department of Agriculture. The employees were supposed to work as go-betweens, helping farmers use federal programs that grant visas to migrant laborers. (photo by Jeanne Bonner)
After cracking down on illegal immigrants, Georgia may eliminate a program meant to help farmers navigate the complicated process for getting visas for migrant laborers. Republican Gov. Nathan Deal's budget plan calls for cutting $150,000 in funding for two liaison positions at the Department of Agriculture. The employees were supposed to work as go-betweens, helping farmers use federal programs that grant visas to migrant laborers. (photo by Jeanne Bonner)
After cracking down on illegal immigrants, Georgia may eliminate a program meant to help farmers navigate the complicated process for getting visas for migrant laborers.

Republican Gov. Nathan Deal's budget plan calls for cutting $150,000 in funding for two liaison positions at the Department of Agriculture. The employees were supposed to work as go-betweens, helping farmers use federal programs that grant visas to migrant laborers.

Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black proposed starting the liaisons after Georgia passed a law targeting illegal immigrants. Farmers complained they were having difficulty attracting workers, especially to harvest labor-intensive crops like fruits and vegetables.

Agriculture department spokeswoman Mary Kathryn Yearta said the pilot program was cut as the agency sought to trim its budget by $1 million. She said results did not meet desired outcomes.