Several agricultural states are facing MASSIVE LABOR SHORTAGES! Farmers cannot find workers to pick their crops so their crops are ROTTING ON THE VINE!
California Farm Labor Shortage 'Worst It's Been, Ever'
There's a different sort of drought plaguing California, the nation's largest farm state. It's $38 billion agricultural sector is facing a scarcity of labor. "This year is the worst it's been, ever," said Craig Underwood, who farms everything from strawberries to lemons to peppers, carrots, and turnips in Ventura County. Some crops aren't getting picked this season due to a lack of workers. "We just left them in the field," he said.
The Western Growers Association is reporting a 20 percent drop in laborers this year. Stronger border controls are keeping workers from crossing into the U.S. illegally, and the current guest worker program is not providing enough bodies.
Migratory flows between Mexico and the United States have come to a halt.
Growers of California's wine grapes are concerned there won't be enough pickers for this fall's harvest. Berry growers — among the highest paying — saw fewer field hands show up in the spring.
"Fruit that you should be picking is not being picked," said grower John Eiskamp.
Most pickers in California are not here legally, a fact of life for decades.
When asked if any local residents have come out to apply to work in the fields, Craig Underwood replied, "None. Absolutely none." He is even having trouble finding truck drivers and other semi-skilled labor for jobs that pay $12-$18 an hour.
N.C. wary of possible farm labor shortage
North Carolina is a top producer of tobacco, sweet potatoes and other fruits and vegetables – but in the near future, farmers might not have enough workers to pick them. “If we don’t have an adequate supply of labor, the crops are going to rot in the fields,” said N.C. Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “And eventually it’s going to affect prices.”
North Carolina relies on about 90,000 migrant farm workers, said Lee Wicker, deputy director of the N.C. Growers Association. Wicker, who farms tobacco in Lee County, estimates that about 60,000 of those workers are in the country illegally. Thousands of North Carolina residents are jobless, with a statewide unemployment rate of more than 9 percent, according to the state Department of Commerce. But some farmers say most Americans are unwilling to take farm jobs that require hard labor under a blazing sun for little pay.
Tony Ross, who grows several crops in Moore County, said Americans might take jobs operating tractors or other heavy machinery, but they often avoid jobs that involve manual labor. “They shun this for the most part,” he said.