Apr 3, 2019
DHS to Release 30,000 Seasonal Worker VisasBy Tim Hodson

On March 29, the Department of Homeland Security announced it plans to release an additional 30,000 H-2B visas for returning immigrant workers.

“These additional visas will certainly provide some relief for our members who have been shut out of the H-2B program this year due to the cap,” said Craig Regelbrugge, AmericanHort’s senior vice president for advocacy and research. “Many thanks to our champions in the U.S. Senate and House who have continued to help us push for visa cap relief.”

This number of additional visas is less than half of the 69,320 additional visas Congress authorized, and still falls short of current demand. However, it is double the number that have been made available in the past two fiscal years.

AmericanHort released a statement welcoming the additional visas saying, “This progress would not have happened without the steady advocacy push by our advocacy team, industry leaders, association members, state association partners, and like-minded industries participating in the H-2B Workforce Coalition, which AmericanHort co-chairs.”

The 30,000 visas will be made available via a temporary final rule that will be published in the Federal Register.

— Tim

Walmart to Hold Open Call for New Products

Walmart is accepting applications for its sixth annual Open Call, scheduled for June 18 and 19 in Bentonville, Arkansas. Open Call is a program that allows companies to pitch new, niche and innovative American-made products to the mass merchant. Open Call attendees could potentially secure deals ranging from a handful of stores in local markets, to supplying hundreds, even thousands of stores, Sam’s Clubs and Walmart.com. Companies can apply by visiting Walmart-jump.com for the opportunity to secure a face-to-face pitch meeting with a Walmart buyer.

Whole Foods, Amazon Expand Price Reduction Plan, Add Deals for Prime Members

Whole Foods Market and Amazon have announced a third round of price cuts, offering new lower prices on fresh produce for all customers and expanded Prime benefits with more exclusive weekly deals on popular products across departments. On April 1, the companies lowered prices on hundreds of items with an emphasis on high-quality, peak-of-season produce, including greens, tomatoes, tropical fruits and more. In addition to new lower prices for all shoppers, Amazon Prime members will now save more at Whole Foods Market with double the number of exclusive weekly Prime Member deals and deeper discounts.

Home Depot, Lowe’s Score High on ‘Most Loved’ Brands List

The Home Depot and Lowe’s were recently named to the Morning Consult Brand Intelligence 2019 Most Loved Brands list. The Home Depot came in at #5 on the list while Lowe’s was #11. Amazon was the top ranked brand on the 2019 list. Morning Consult conducted more than 400,000 surveys of consumers 18 and older to compile this year’s list. Survey participants were asked to rank the brands according to such criteria as favorability, community impact and trust. Morning Consult is a brand and marketing intelligence research firm headquartered in New York.

Tim Hodson

Tim Hodson is the editorial director of GPN and Big Grower. He can be reached at [email protected]

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