California farmers are facing a labor shortage this upcoming season, anticipating significant drops in available farmhands and potentially major losses in the farm sector.
Agriculture is one of the most important parts of the California economy, comprising an annual $44 billion each year. In addition to being a major engine of the California economy, the state’s farm sector is one of the nation’s largest farm producers.
This vital industry, however, could face a tough year ahead thanks to difficult demographic trends and immigration concerns. The state’s farm sector, like much of the rest of the country’s, is facing a demographic crunch. With an aging farm sector retiring, and with fewer and fewer young workers replacing them, many farmers are anticipating a shortage in farm hands.
In addition, tougher US immigration enforcement, combined with a recovering Mexican farm sector, has led to fewer Mexican immigrants entering the US and fewer farm laborers available for California growers.
“Basically, we’re running out of low-skilled workers. People simply are not doing farm work to the extent they were doing before,” said J. Edward Taylor, a University of California, Davis, economist.
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer