The city of Santa Maria will host a fourth meeting to discuss the H-2A temporary worker program, its importance to the region’s agricultural operations, and its potential impacts in city neighborhoods.

The meeting will be 5:30-7:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 1, at Minami Community Center, 600 W. Enos Drive.

The federal H-2A program allows American employers or agents who meet specific regulatory requirements to bring foreign nationals to this country to fill temporary agricultural jobs.

The forum is designed to educate and listen to city residents, stakeholders, policymaker and other interested parties as the city grapples with the complex issues arising from the increasing use of the H-2A program, and the growing number of temporary workers living in Santa Maria.

Written questions may be submitted by members of the public.

The event will focus on why the H-2A program is utilized by the area’s farming operations, as well as the impact of agriculture in general to the local and regional economy.

Included will be presentations from representatives of the Grower-Shipper Association, the California Strawberry Association, and a farm labor contractor who will also be available to answer questions.

Questions may be directed to the City Attorney’s Office, 805-925-0951 ext. 2310.

— Mark van de Kamp for city of Santa Maria.