EAST WENATCHEE — An East Wenatchee orchard operator is temporarily barred from hiring foreign farmworkers through a widely known visa program after a federal investigation found the company shirked its legal responsibilities, jeopardized workers’ safety and health and verbally abused them.

East Wenatchee-based Welton Orchards and Storage LLC was fined $64,120 for violations to the H-2A agricultural worker program, which allows people from outside the country to work in the U.S. agriculture sector on a temporary basis. An estimated 3 million migrant and seasonal farmworkers are employed across the country, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

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