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Thread: California Crops Rot as Immigration Crackdown Creates Farmworker Shortage

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    Cool California Crops Rot as Immigration Crackdown Creates Farmworker Shortage

    California Crops Rot as Immigration Crackdown Creates Farmworker Shortage

    Chris Morris | Aug 08, 2017

    Vegetable prices may be going up soon, as a shortage of migrant workers is resulting in lost crops in California.

    Farmers say they're having trouble hiring enough people to work during harvest season, causing some crops to rot before they can be picked. Already, the situation has triggered losses of more than $13 million in two California counties alone, according to NBC News.

    The ongoing battle about U.S. immigration policies is blamed for the shortage. The vast majority of California's farm workers are foreign born, with many coming from Mexico. However, the PEW Research Center reports more Mexicans are leaving the U.S. than coming here.

    To make the jobs more attractive, farmers are offering salaries above minimum wage, along with paid time off and 401(k) plans, but even that's not proving enough.

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    Meanwhile in America's dairyland, cows aren't getting milked because immigrants are self-deporting. Shrimp boats of the Gulf Coast are having to turn around because Americans are quitting menial jobs after just one day.

    It's a good thing that American agriculture is slowly weening itself off of low cost, easily exploitable foreign labor. However, there's been little discussion on how the market is expected to adjust to this new reality beyond "wages will rise and Americans will start doing these jobs again." That just isn't happening.

    Over and over, and over again we see the reality: farmers raise wages, add benefits and Americans still won't do the work. How expensive are your corn and potatoes going to have to be before Americans will spread out into the farms again? I sure as hell will veto any attempt to subsidize these farms to pay workers better wages, and I'm sure everyone else feels the same way. Big Farm already gets too many goddamned handouts as it is.

    Even if your stock reply is "they will mechanize" then that's still a 10-20 year lead in where veg and fruit prices are going to do nothing but go up. I figure most people on this forum are rich enough that $5 a gallon milk and $3 sweet potatoes are no big deal, but for poorer folks that is a pretty significant impediment to eating right.

    So, what is the short term solution? Letting illegals do the work just perpetuates the exploitation of a lower class of non-citizens and pads the pockets of Big Farm Corporations. Subsidizing even more just adds to the national debt. And yet no one wants to pay double or triple for an apple or a peanut.

    Are we just gonna have to suck it up and be food poor for a while, or what? And what happens if there's a drought or flooding, which always drives up prices a lot more than any labor shortage? It certainly could put the entire farming industry on shaky ground for a little while.
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    Good. If the price of vegetables goes up then Myself doesn't have to buy any more than I already don't buy.

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    I wish legal immigrants and citizens would do this work. They will when the wages conform to the value of their labor.

    While I can pinch a penny until Lincoln screams, I'm fine with paying people what their labor is actually worth. If lettuce is $3.00 bucks, it is what it is. I'll buy less, grow it, do without, or pay the price.

    With the way things are going, automation is going to end most of these discussions within 5 years. I'm shocked at what's already happening in ag in terms of automation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Servo View Post
    Meanwhile in America's dairyland, cows aren't getting milked because immigrants are self-deporting. Shrimp boats of the Gulf Coast are having to turn around because Americans are quitting menial jobs after just one day.

    It's a good thing that American agriculture is slowly weening itself off of low cost, easily exploitable foreign labor. However, there's been little discussion on how the market is expected to adjust to this new reality beyond "wages will rise and Americans will start doing these jobs again." That just isn't happening.
    So there are some "dislocations" -- this is to be expected.

    Over and over, and over again we see the reality: farmers raise wages, add benefits and Americans still won't do the work. How expensive are your corn and potatoes going to have to be before Americans will spread out into the farms again? I sure as hell will veto any attempt to subsidize these farms to pay workers better wages, and I'm sure everyone else feels the same way. Big Farm already gets too many goddamned handouts as it is.

    Even if your stock reply is "they will mechanize" then that's still a 10-20 year lead in where veg and fruit prices are going to do nothing but go up. I figure most people on this forum are rich enough that $5 a gallon milk and $3 sweet potatoes are no big deal, but for poorer folks that is a pretty significant impediment to eating right. So, what is the short term solution? Letting illegals do the work just perpetuates the exploitation of a lower class of non-citizens and pads the pockets of Big Farm Corporations. Subsidizing even more just adds to the national debt. And yet no one wants to pay double or triple for an apple or a peanut.

    Are we just gonna have to suck it up and be food poor for a while, or what? And what happens if there's a drought or flooding, which always drives up prices a lot more than any labor shortage? It certainly could put the entire farming industry on shaky ground for a little while.
    I agree with the bold. I'm a bit nervous about the downside of this protectionist impulse (I'm a pensioner, mostly) but I think the pendulum has gone too far. "Dislocations" is a lovely economic euphemism, and no one knows how it will work out.

    I'm positive I don't want our ever-concerned, ever-wise government wizards to attempt to direct things. It didn't work for Nixon and Ford, and it won't work now. Let the market work. Wages, mechanization, prices, changes in diet! new incentives for farm work? Who knows?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Servo View Post
    Meanwhile in America's dairyland, cows aren't getting milked because immigrants are self-deporting. Shrimp boats of the Gulf Coast are having to turn around because Americans are quitting menial jobs after just one day.

    It's a good thing that American agriculture is slowly weening itself off of low cost, easily exploitable foreign labor. However, there's been little discussion on how the market is expected to adjust to this new reality beyond "wages will rise and Americans will start doing these jobs again." That just isn't happening.

    Over and over, and over again we see the reality: farmers raise wages, add benefits and Americans still won't do the work. How expensive are your corn and potatoes going to have to be before Americans will spread out into the farms again? I sure as hell will veto any attempt to subsidize these farms to pay workers better wages, and I'm sure everyone else feels the same way. Big Farm already gets too many goddamned handouts as it is.

    Even if your stock reply is "they will mechanize" then that's still a 10-20 year lead in where veg and fruit prices are going to do nothing but go up. I figure most people on this forum are rich enough that $5 a gallon milk and $3 sweet potatoes are no big deal, but for poorer folks that is a pretty significant impediment to eating right.

    So, what is the short term solution? Letting illegals do the work just perpetuates the exploitation of a lower class of non-citizens and pads the pockets of Big Farm Corporations. Subsidizing even more just adds to the national debt. And yet no one wants to pay double or triple for an apple or a peanut.

    Are we just gonna have to suck it up and be food poor for a while, or what? And what happens if there's a drought or flooding, which always drives up prices a lot more than any labor shortage? It certainly could put the entire farming industry on shaky ground for a little while.
    It appears you are in favor of slave labor, is that true?

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    The wait to be a New York City sanitation worker is about 7 years. The job is filthy, the weather is horrible, and the consumers are obnoxious. Don't tell me that "Americans won't do (insert occupation) job."
    Reporters used to break stories. Now they're just fucking tattletales. - Adam Carolla

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    Quote Originally Posted by Novaheart View Post
    The wait to be a New York City sanitation worker is about 7 years. The job is filthy, the weather is horrible, and the consumers are obnoxious. Don't tell me that "Americans won't do (insert occupation) job."
    So find people who will do the farm work.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Djharkavy View Post
    So find people who will do the farm work.

    Sent from my LG-H918 using Tapatalk
    Stop paying people to not work and you'll see what happens.
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    Time will tell.

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