A proposed crackdown on illegal immigration in Tennessee has worried farmers throughout the state who depend on immigrant labor. A new law that recently went into effect would require all employers to verify the immigration status of their new hires, making it harder for some farmers to find seasonal work.
In addition to these verification requirements, Tennessee state legislators are considering laws that would make it harder to hire legal guest workers and might dissuade legal immigrants from living and working in Tennessee.
Farmers across the state are concerned with these potential laws and worry that they may cause the same labor shortages that have plagued Georgia and Alabama. A Hickory Point, Tennessee farmer stated in an interview with the Tennessean, “If, theoretically, you did get rid of all the Mexicans, you’d be hungry in a week. All your vegetables had a Mexican hand on it. All your fruit, and three-quarters of your meat.”
In addition to underscoring the importance of Hispanic labor on the state’s agricultural sector, many farmers are worried about falling into the same labor pitfalls as neighboring Georgia and Alabama. Both states recently passed strict immigration laws designed to curb illegal immigration.
As a result, both states have experienced an exodus of farm labor, labor that cannot, it seems, be replaced by legal workers. Conservative estimates of the total costs to the states’ agricultural sectors are upwards of $110 million, with some experts saying the total may be significantly higher.
To learn more about agricultural financing opportunities in Tennessee, contact a Farm Plus Financial representative by calling 866-929-5585 or by visiting .
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer