We are getting reports in on last years crops. I read about an interesting online survey in my March 4th FB News that was conducted in California. The questions were about experiences with labor hiring during the 2012 harvest. 800 California Farm Bureau members responded. The report titled “Walking the Tightrope: California Farmers Struggle with Employee Shortages” is available at www.CFBF.com.
Just a few quick observations for you.
- 61% of all respondents reported employee shortages.
- 71% of the farmers who grew labor-intensive crops like tree fruits, vegetables, table grapes, raisins and berries reported employee shortages.
- To cope with the workforce shortage farmers offered higher wages, delayed pruning and harvesting, used mechanization if possible, or did not harvest some of their crop.
- 19% of the respondents had planted fewer acres, not harvested a portion of their crop or gave up leased land because of a lack of available harvest help.
- Farmers were open about their reliance on a largely immigrant workforce.
- Their efforts to hire U.S. born employees on farms have been mostly unsuccessful, even during the deepest part of the recent recession.
Why does this matter to us in Washington? California produces over 90% of the U.S. crop of the following:
- Clingstone Peaches
- ~ Lorraine Newman