Farmers across the country are hoping that comprehensive immigration reform (a move that is receiving more and more support in Washington, D.C.), may help solve their labor shortages.
For the past several years, American farmers have struggled with an ever-growing problem attracting farm labor. While the shortage is partly caused by a sour economy, major state immigration initiatives are also to blame.
In states like Arizona, Alabama, and Georgia, tough new immigration laws seeking to curb the flow of undocumented workers have led to an exodus of farm laborers. The loss of these laborers has led to major losses as crops rotted in fields.
The lack of farm labor has had serious consequences nationwide. According to one San Diego farmer, “I’ve had to cut back on what I plant in my fields. I decided not to harvest some things because I couldn’t get the labor to do it.”
Many cited the toxic climate attached to the immigration debate, as well as the failure of the H-2A program, better known as the work visa program, as the reason for the labor shortage. Farmers are hoping that relaxing immigration restrictions will encourage more farm workers to legally enter the country.
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer