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Farmers scrambling to find harvest labor
San Francisco Chronicle / ^ | Sunday, May 27, 2012 | Stacy Finz

Posted on 05/27/2012 1:02:28 PM PDT by thecodont

Skip Foppiano of Morada Produce is praying for cool weather. The San Joaquin County grower and packer is thick into cherry harvest season and is short on labor - 20 to 30 percent fewer pickers than he had last year.

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."


California has yet to calculate its losses, but Bryan Little, director of labor affairs for the state's Farm Bureau Federation, said some asparagus growers have already had to disc up their fields because there weren't enough pickers.

"You would think with the unemployment rate being what it is, people here would take these jobs," Little said. "But Americans have self-selected away from this kind of work. It's not because the pay is low. It's because the work is hard.

"I thought we might have five to 10 years to fix this labor shortage problem," he said. "Now, we might not."

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TOPICS: Business/Economy; Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Mexico; US: California
KEYWORDS: agriculture; california; economy; farmlabor; illegalimmigrants; mexico
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To: Doogle

You hit the nail square on the head. Exactly what I was going to post.

They are taking all the other jobs here in California, and have been for a number of years.

41 posted on 05/27/2012 4:02:46 PM PDT by rockinqsranch (Dems, Libs, Socialists, call 'em what you will, they ALL have fairies livin' in their trees.)
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To: tiki

Ditto.. farming work can leave you exhausted at the end of the day. When I was 16, I worked irrigation systems on the cornfields of a friend of the family in the summer of 1973.. it kicked my a**, but I found getting out there and working the fields to be rewarding nonetheless. It`s something every teen should experience.

42 posted on 05/27/2012 4:15:46 PM PDT by ScottinVA (Buying Drain-O requires photo I.D... yet voting doesn't???)
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To: Maryland Man
End unemployment and other government handouts and they will have plenty of labor.

Worth repeating.

43 posted on 05/27/2012 4:32:46 PM PDT by A message
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Yes, when labor was cheap there wasn’t much incentive to mechanize. There will be fewer but higher paid workers. Now the challenge is to reduce the waste left by machines.

“ jobs” Yep. A high wage doesn’t mean much to the unemployed.

44 posted on 05/27/2012 5:10:56 PM PDT by count-your-change (You don't have to be brilliant, not being stupid is enough.)
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To: thecodont

Hey, government subsidized dip chits, pay a decent wage and they will come.

45 posted on 05/27/2012 5:13:09 PM PDT by Sea Parrot (I'll be a nice to you as you'll let me be, or as mean as you make me be.)
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To: thecodont




46 posted on 05/27/2012 5:15:43 PM PDT by BenLurkin (This is not a statement of fact. It is either opinion or satire; or both)
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To: Vanderkasperski

Years ago I saw some of finest citrus in the world left to rot in the groves because it wasn’t the “right” size or some other regulation.

The way farming is distorted by government policy is just insane.

47 posted on 05/27/2012 5:18:49 PM PDT by count-your-change (You don't have to be brilliant, not being stupid is enough.)
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To: WestwardHo

“Get rid of the labor laws that don’t allow kids to work!”

That’s what I was thinking too.

48 posted on 05/27/2012 5:19:56 PM PDT by 21twelve
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To: thecodont

tell the lazy welfare rats to get of their fat azz and get to work... or lose the welfare!!!
49 posted on 05/27/2012 6:24:14 PM PDT by Chode (American Hedonist - *DTOM* -ww- NO Pity for the LAZY)
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To: Loyal Sedition
I used to work for the United Farm WSorkers (yes, Cesar Chavez' Union: and even years ago, we knew very well that UC Davis had developed prototype mechanized harvest equipment for every commercially-grown crop in Califrnia. Years ago.

Most of it was not being utilized, and still isn't. because it was very expensive, and labor was too cheap for the machinery to be cost-effective.

But now?

Bring on the machines. Seriously, it's time for a farm machinery revolution.

50 posted on 05/27/2012 7:04:09 PM PDT by Mrs. Don-o ("You can observe a lot just by watchin'." - Yogi Berra)
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To: Mrs. Don-o

I clearly recall reading an article, late 80’s, in the San Jose Mercury News.
It stated that funding for final development of tomato harvesting machinery was being pulled due to pressure from the Chavez/Union folk.

Stated the equipment was almost perfected.

That’s over twenty years ago, modern computer capability should have helped to advance the speed and capabilities of such equipment.
Cost should now be lower too, time for “Made in China” to finally yield some actual benefit!

51 posted on 05/27/2012 7:19:53 PM PDT by Loyal Sedition
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To: Doogle

You’ve got that right. California can’t say it doesn’t have any illegals. They know their state is loaded with them. So why the shortage? I guess President Bush was wrong. There are just some jobs illegals won’t do.

52 posted on 05/27/2012 8:26:25 PM PDT by Waryone
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To: cripplecreek

Government is supplying the demand by giving food stamps, medical care, housing, etc.

Eliminate all of the above and there will be either a lot of labor or a lot of work for undertakers.

I don’t care which!!!!!

53 posted on 05/27/2012 8:30:23 PM PDT by dalereed
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