drop in US immigration impacting agriculture industry

27 May

This is a good article on how the massive drop in immigration to the United States is resulting in difficulties for the agriculture industry. It should be noted that many of the agriculture workers, while being undocumented, still pay taxes, including payments into Social Security. As the baby boom generation ages out of the work force, Social Security out payments are increasing dramatically, with talks about “reform” that essentially do away with these benefits.

So, what are the implications? Well, first of all – at this time the US work force are increasingly people of color, who are making payments to support a mostly aging white population. This same aging white population are some of the most rabid extremists who want to do away with benefits altogether, but all the while are perfectly OK with drawing their own benefits. Why should people of color, especially immigrants, who have little or no prospect of receiving these benefits continue to fund the retirement of aged white people? Especially given the fact that this aged white people population have repeatedly voted against the interests of people of color, and immigrants.

There is no reason whatsoever. In this respect, the drop in immigration is an excellent turn of events, it is not in the interest of immigrants to work for low wages, while getting little or nothing for the wealth that they have generated and continue to generate.

If it gets too hot, his smaller-than-usual workforce won‘t have time to get all the cherries off the trees before they rot. Farmers across California are experiencing the same problem: Seasonal workers who have been coming for decades to help with the harvest, planting and pruning have dropped off in recent years. With immigration crackdowns, an aging Mexican population, drug wars at the border and a weakened job market in the United States, the flow of migrants has stopped and may actually have reversed, according to the Pew Hispanic Center, a nonprofit, nonpartisan public policy research firm that has been studying the trend.

“We’re scrambling,” Foppiano said, adding that he’s also experiencing a labor shortage in Fresno, where he owns additional cherry orchards. “It’s a hard time. And I’m hearing lots of other growers complaining about it.”

After cherries, Foppiano will move into onion season and then bell peppers, all of which need to be hand-harvested. A third-generation farmer whose success has always depended on the whims of Mother Nature, he’s not ready to panic over a shortage of workers – yet.

Reason to worry

But the American Farm Bureau Federation and its California chapter believe there is plenty of reason to worry.

“There have been instances in which growers had to disc up whole crops because they didn’t have the workforce to harvest,” said Kristi Boswell, the Farm Bureau’s director of congressional relations. She points to Georgia, where whole tomato fields were plowed under last year. “The workforce has been decreasing in the last two to three years, but last year it was drastic.”

A report released last month by the center shows that only 375,000 people left Mexico – the vast majority coming to the United States – from November 2010 to November 2011, compared with 1.05 million people five years earlier.

And farmers are saying this year is even worse. Growers have tried to hire more domestic workers and had hoped that with unemployment rates so high they’d find local labor.

“But domestic workers don’t stick around to finish the job,” Boswell said. “It’s labor intensive and often involves hand picking in grueling conditions.”


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s