Skip to comments.A NOTE TO FARMERS
Posted on 09/20/2011 7:09:05 AM PDT by shortstop
I love farmers.
Someday, I'd like to be one.
I appreciate what the American agricultural community does, feeding our country and the world. Because of American agriculture, we have access to wholesome, delicious, affordable and plentiful food. We have a more secure food supply than any people at any time in the history of humankind.
And thanks for that goes to the American farmer. I love farmers.
But I love my country more.
And I love my country's laws. And I believe that obedience to law is the duty of all citizens, and no excuses for lawlessness can be tolerated.
I'm talking about illegal immigration.
Over the weekend, agriculture officials from 46 states met in Salt Lake City to discuss labor. That makes sense. Some parts of American agriculture are very labor intensive. It takes people to milk cows, pick apples or prune grapes. Weeding and cutting and grafting are things which need to be done by human hands, and hiring the humans to do those tasks can be very difficult for farmers.
And the government only makes that more difficult.
We have made it virtually impossible to immigrate legally, and incredibly easy to immigrate illegally. And once here illegally, the current administration has made it almost impossible to be deported. So, yes, the entire system does seem rigged to promote and protect illegal immigration, and farmers get stuck in the middle of that.
I can understand and sympathize with the farmer's need for hired help.
But, again, breaking the law is wrong. And the traditional values farmers stand for include being law abiding.
And, as I understand, in other areas, farmers are very particular about boundaries.
That's why they put fences around their land.
And "No Trespassing" signs.
And prosecute people who cross their lands or enter their barns.
See, when it comes to their own land, farmers seem to have a pretty good understanding about the law. If you doubt my word, show up the first morning of deer season and help yourself. Farmer John will have the deputies hauling you out of his woods before the sun gets up.
And I understand that.
It's his land. You don't have a right to be there. You can't go in his barn, you can't walk through his orchard, you can't visit his vineyard. It's his land, and he has a right to decide who goes there, and on his land he makes the rules. That's the way it is, and that's the way it ought to be.
But, of course, the exact same principle applies to our country. It is our land. Except that it has no fences and no "No Trespassing" signs.
And the position of most of the American agricultural community is that that is perfectly fine.
Foreigners are perfectly free to cross our border illegally, and trespass on our country, and most of the farm community thinks that's fine.
Because it benefits them.
But when it doesn't benefit them -- when it comes to protecting their property -- they have an entirely different view.
I don't mean to beat up on farmers. I truly do value them. They are one of the most important foundation stones of our society.
But their very strength is the reason they must stand for what's right. American agriculture must not give in to expediency and convenience. It must not accept lawlessness as a solution. The people who feed America have great political clout. They must use that clout to pressure government into fixing the problem, not turning a blind eye to its continuation.
Illegal immigration is wrong and it needs to stop. Whether with a giant fence, or an open door, whether with deportations or amnesty, something must be done. A solution that allows law and order to be restored and respected must be instituted.
And all aspects of society must help with that effort.
Including the farm community.
Good fences make good neighbors, and the other fellow doesn't have the right to come on your land without your permission.
And nobody knows that better than farmers.
Let's apply that wisdom to our country and its borders.
And let's fix illegal immigration once and for all.
I suspect his solution is: (1) fix the legal “guest worker”/”green card” system so we can get legal immigrant workers, and (2) fix the enforcement system so that we can get rid of illegals. I would like to see a first offense for illegal entry include fingerprinting and a permanent ban on legal immigration and on any path to citizenship, along with tossing the criminal out of our country. I think that, combined with a working system for foreign workers, would solve most of the problem.
Exactly. Where’s his solution?
Brickbats start flying anytime the words “jobs Americans won’t do” are uttered. But it’s true.
It takes human labor to harvest, the farmer can’t do it himself, and there aren’t enough legal laborers willing to work.
Mexicans work their butts off, grateful for the work.
Meanwhile, crops spoil in the field?
Great ideas long-term. But the article is a bit self-righteous as to the here-and-now.
I don’t know where you manufacture your ‘facts’, simply stating something as ‘fact’ doesn’t make it so. There are plenty of people, willing to do almost anything to earn some money.
Right now, we have a lot of unemployment, but we also have a source of labor that was used for generations that has been excluded from the Agricultural labor pool.
Simply stated “High School Kids”, harvest is a labor intensive job; that’s true. Ever tried to have your kids help out with a harvest? They have a tough enough job getting on at a grocery store, stocking shelves; try getting them a job at an Apple/Orange/Pear orchard. The Mexican foremen won’t hire them - because they are Mexican.
For generations, farmers used to hire teenagers to work in the fields - the kids got some summer money, had fun working together, and learned a work ethic. Today, they can’t even get in the fields.
Meanwhile, perhaps we pay slightly more for vegetables during the transition, and the farmers pay enough to get more of our unskilled unemployed out there in the field. Perhaps we recognize that in the time it takes to get the enforcement side working as if we were serious, we can get the legal immigration process working. I don't think it's impractical for the here-and-now, if "here-and-now" means the next year rather than the next two hours.
Why don’t they put together migrant worker agencies that can pool workers, assure all of their visa’s and other paperwork is in order. Arrange for transport across the border to the locations where the work is needed, make sure the workers are paid a fair wage and all taxes are collected. And then, most importantly, when the work is complete make sure they all are returned to the country they came from.
We used to have migrant programs like this in a small town near where I live. The migrants would start showing up in April or May. they all lived in camps usually on canning factories grounds. and by November they were usually all gone back to Mexico.
....at the wage being paid now. If the farm labor market were not being undercut by illegal workers, the wages would rise until there would be enough legal labor. It's ECON 101.
Yes, food prices would rise, and people would complain; but aren't plenty of us complaining now? At least legal workers would be earning the wages, and there would be incentive for innovation in farm technology to reduce labor costs.
Maybe if we quit paying people not to work, they wouldn’t be so picky about what kind of work they will do.
I “manufacture” my facts from personal experience.
Decades of it.
Mexicans have been doing truck garden agriculture labor in this country pretty much continuously since FDR authorized it in WW2 to replace the local labor gobbled up for the war machine. It is true that lots of American teen agers have picked strawberries, but the child labor laws pretty much put a kibosh on that idea.
I was working my way through for a degree at the University of Nebraska in the early 60s and on the between the campus and my apartment there was a large asparagus field. It was spring & I needed money. I approached the owner of the acreage and offered my services. He told me that I didn’t want that job since Mexicans were doing it.
Had a similar incident; 4 teenagers in Washington state trying to get summer jobs to pay for college, cars, toys, clothes, etc.
They couldn’t get a job in the Apple orchards, because the Mexican foremen wanted to hire other Mexicans. My kids were lucky enough to find jobs at local fast food resturants; but many kids sat on their backsides all summer long - instead of working and earning money like their parents used to do.
I picked corn, hauled bales of hay, and did whatever I could do to earn money. I had to pay for my own car, gas, insurance and repairs; plus college, clothes and stuff that I would need when I left home. I was grateful for every job I could get, and learned to save my money, and depend upon myself.
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