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The federal government has extended a loan program for labor housing to growers putting up foreign guest workers, as well as U.S. residents.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture administrates loans designed to employers who build or improve housing for farmworkers, but they had always been restricted to U.S. citizens or permanent residents. Last week, the department announced new guidelines that allow foreign workers, namely those with H-2A visas, to use the housing.

The change was part of the 2018 Consolidated Appropriations Act that included an amendment by Rep. Dan Newhouse, a Sunnyside, Washington, Republican, calling for the eligibility extension. It was passed in March this year.

The program application is open with a deadline of Aug. 27.

—by Ross Courtney