Farmers Brace for Labor Shortage Under New Policy

Scott Smith, Yahoo! News, December 28, 2014

Farmers already scrambling to find workers in California–the nation’s leading grower of fruits, vegetables and nuts–fear an even greater labor shortage under President Barack Obama’s executive action to block some 5 million people from deportation.

Thousands of the state’s farmworkers, who make up a significant portion of those who will benefit, may choose to leave the uncertainty of their seasonal jobs for steady, year-around work building homes, cooking in restaurants and cleaning hotel rooms.

“This action isn’t going to bring new workers to agriculture,” said Jason Resnick, vice president and general counsel of the powerful trade association Western Growers. “It’s possible that because of this action, agriculture will lose workers without any mechanism to bring in new workers.”

Although details of the president’s immigration policy have yet to be worked out, Resnick said the agricultural workforce has been declining for a decade. Today, the association estimates there is a 15 to 20 percent shortage of farmworkers, which is driving the industry to call for substantial immigration reform from Congress, such as a sound guest worker program.

“Hopefully there will be the opportunity for comprehensive immigration reform,” said Karen Ross, secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture. “That’s the right thing to do for this country.”

California’s 330,000 farmworkers account for the largest share of the 2.1 million nationwide, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Texas comes in a distant second with less than half of California’s farmworkers.


Manuel Cunha, president of the Fresno-based Nisei Farmers League, estimates that 85 percent of California’s agricultural workers are using false documents to obtain work.

Cunha, who has advised the Obama administration on immigration policy, figures that 50,000 of the state’s farmworkers who may benefit from the president’s executive action could leave the fields and packing houses in California’s $46.4 billion agricultural industry.


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  • Hold the phone. Wasn’t ZOMG crops rotting in the fields LOL~!!!1 precisely the reason we were supposed to do some form of amnesty?

    • E_Pluribus_Pluribus

      Brilliant point, QD. Almost everything about the push for “immigration reform” is insane.

  • E_Pluribus_Pluribus

    Obama executive amnesty frees up millions of illegal aliens — now confined to chicken-feed-paying garbage jobs — are now freed up to displace American citizens.

  • JackKrak

    First it was “We need this amnesty to ensure a steady labor supply on our farms”.

    Now it’s “This amnesty is threatening the labor supply on our farms”.

    Whatever admiration I had left for farmers is quickly disappearing.

  • MekongDelta69

    Q. Name me one thing NoBama has done NOT to destroy this country?

    [Rhetorical question again. Only one answer applies.]

  • finally, an article that highlights the economic aspects of mass immigration.

    Now do something on the economic aspects of multiculturalism.

    Multiculturalism and mass immigration work hand in hand.

  • john maverick

    Non violent offenders should be given the opportunity to work in the fields.
    everyday in the field is one day off their sentence.theres is plenty of labor sitting on its butt watching TV in prison.

    • Epiminondas

      For this to work, you have to make prison worse than working in a field. I think the old chain-gang of the South should be restored for violent prisoners.

    • Elba

      NO- lets put ALL offenders in the fields- violent or non-violent.

  • RacialRay

    With an avalanche of newly un-illegal aliens set to pour northward across the border, the potential for unpicked avocados will likely be the least of our worries.

  • Luca

    If an apple sells for 25 cents each, the cost of labor is about 1.5 cents per apple. another 2.5 cents is profit and the rest goes for pest control, fertilizer, shipping, machinery, packaging, insurance, storage and distribution.

    The cost of labor for fruit picking is a myth perpetuated by greedy corporate farms. If you doubled the wage you’d be paying about another 1,5 cents per apple.

    The only ones who will pick fruit at $9 per hour are illegals, The more you give them amnesty, the more illegals you need to replace them.

  • Epiminondas

    As has been endlessly remarked, this amnesty will solve nothing. Another wave of cheap, illegal labor is waiting over the border. Democrats are licking their chops at the prospect of winning permanent control in D.C.

  • Mary

    Major kudos for this article. The blatant, agenda-driven cover-up of black-on-White crime is a national disgrace. THIS is the conversation on race we need to have, the breathtaking and sickening level of crime perpetrated by blacks against Whites. The only time in my life I was almost a crime victim was at the hands of a black male. It was about 20 years ago and I made the mistake of going to a post office around midnight. I dropped the letters in the mailbox from my car and was about to roll up the window, when a young black male suddenly appeared next to my car and lunged forward at me. In a split second I drove away. If he’d been a little faster or I had been a little slower, I don’t know what could have happened. I still visualize this incident like it happened yesterday. I feel deep anger and sorrow for all the White victims of black crime who have not been so lucky.

  • Greg Thomas

    There are 25 million illegals currently squatting on US soil. How can there be a “shortage of workers?” How are the millions of invaders supporting themselves if they are not “picking our lettuce?” The fact of the matter is that the corporate agro farmers want an endless supply of cheap slave labor because they are unwilling to pay American citizens a decent wage to perform this work, They have been allowed to break the law with impunity.

  • MBlanc46

    Cry me a river.

  • WR_the_realist

    I knew it. Farmers are dependent upon wages you can only pay people who fear deportation. So of course the solution will be to bring in millions more illegals, rather than to accept the notion that we should all pay a little more for food so as to provide decent wages to the people who grow it.

    • Whitetrashgang

      Yes, half of America is so damn fat the price of food going up would be a good thing.

      • mobilebay

        I am puzzled. Can anyone enlighten me? The high price of food has been blamed on the cost of gas. Now that the price of gas has dropped dramatically, why hasn’t the price of food? We’ve also been told that with illegals working the fields, prices would be kept down…if this is so, why did I get sticker shock in the market a few days ago when I priced a slab of brisket?
        Are you ready? It was $73.00! This has to be the height of insanity. I pass up steaks, roasts, etc and go for the cheap cuts or settle for a can of tuna.

        • WR_the_realist

          The nominal price of food goes up for the simple reason that for the past 6 years the federal government through the federal reserve has been creating trillions of new dollars.

    • Mack0

      hahaha. You are 100% correct. The outcome was so predictable, anyone who is surprised is either brain dead or lying.

  • Mack0

    Farmers brace for labor shortage-thus facilitating the push for more illegals. Hmm, besides new illegals who else will be recruited to fill the gap? Who else but the illegals already here with criminal backgrounds who fear deportation if they choose to “come out of the shadows” All of this is was predictable.

  • Elba

    Total BS. This is bogus, propaganda fear mongering so we’ll feel “sorry” for the farmers and promise to let in more fugly Guatemalan indigenous slobs.

  • Realist

    There would be no farm labor shortage if welfare were ended.