Tags: california | farmers | work shortage

California Farmers Fear Worker Shortage From Crackdown on Illegals

Image: California Farmers Fear Worker Shortage From Crackdown on Illegals
(AP)

By    |   Thursday, 25 May 2017 12:56 PM

Farmers in California are struggling with decreasing number of available workers, according to a report by Sacramento's CBS 13.

"If we can't change the way we're doing business, we're at risk," Brad Goehring, a fourth-generation wine grape grower, told CBS 13.

"It's been a real struggle and it's been increasing the last five to six years," Goehring said, referring to finding people to work on farms.

Goehring and other agricultural business owners have tried offering benefits such as health insurance and 401(k)s. He increased pay on some jobs to $22 an hour. However, other farms then raise their pay rates higher.

"Really, nothing seems to work when you raise your wages," he told CBS 13.

The San Joaquin Farm Bureau said that raising California's minimum wage to $15 an hour is part of the issue.

"The cost for our growers to just simply put that product on your table, is going through the roof," said Bruce Blodgett, executive director at the San Joaquin Farm Bureau, adding that he has called on Congress for a guest worker program, but "unfortunately, it's fallen on deaf ears."

J-Edward Taylor, agriculture professor at UC Davis told CBS 13 fewer farmers are coming over from Mexico, and while Mexican workers make up more than 90 percent of farm employees, 150,000 fewer workers are coming over each year.

The crackdown on immigration by the Trump administration has scared some of the workers.

"I'm scared that I won't return home to see my kids, who are waiting for me," Maria, a farm worker and single mother, told CBS 13.

U.S. Senators in California are looking to address the issue by proposing citizenship for undocumented farm workers, according to a May 9 report by CBS 13. 

"If not for them, Americans would not be able to give thanks at their dinner table every day," Marc Grossman of the United Farm Workers said.

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Farmers in California are struggling with decreasing number of available workers, according to a report by Sacramento's CBS 13.
california, farmers, work shortage
314
2017-56-25
Thursday, 25 May 2017 12:56 PM
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