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Monday, May 14, 2012

Some Ala. Farmers Cut Back Crops, Citing Crackdown

ONEONTA, Ala. (AP) — Some Alabama farmers say they are planting less produce rather than risk having tomatoes and other crops rot in the fields a second straight year because of labor shortages linked to the state's crackdown on illegal immigration.

Keith Dickie said he and other growers in the heart of Alabama's tomato country didn't have any choice but to reduce acreage amid fears there won't be enough workers to pick the delicate fruit.

Some farmers lacked enough hands to harvest crops because immigrants fled the state after Gov. Robert Bentley signed the immigration law last fall, and some told The Associated Press they fear the same thing could happen this year.

"There's too much uncertainty," said Dickie, who farms with his brother on a ridge called Straight Mountain, about 40 miles northeast of Birmingham.



Anonymous said...

I've been following this story and last year they tried to use inmates to harvest the crop and it was a failure. They showed one inmate throw up a box and he said "this is too hard." Some were even risking a escape charge and walking off because they didn't want to do it.

Anonymous said...

Are we supposed to feel sorry for the farmers? Funny that when it comes to gas prices, food prices, luxury items, and tech gadgets, the laws of supply and demand are used to justify gouging the consumer at every corner. But when it comes down to the labor market, the worker is supposed to love working for peanuts even when the demand for a worker far outstrips the (legal) supply.

Anonymous said...

There are a lot of tomato pickers and generally good hard working American laborers sitting on their front porch waiting for the Obama train to roll by the mailbox.
Hire them and save on translation costs.

Anonymous said...

I think we are supposed to feel sorry for the farmers and place the blame squarely on "the big three"- ADM, Cargill and ConArga who receive a disproportionate share of the profits from food production.
These companies which are often refered to as "middlemen" earn the largest share of money from the consumer.
That is why it is becomming so much more important to buy locally and keep the money in the local economy. Know your farmer. Know where your food comes from.

Anonymous said...

The whole food industry is in shambles because it is controlled by Big Agribusiness and being propped up by us the tax payers in the form of subsidies as not to cut into the profits of the giants.

Anonymous said...

To 1:13, except the government is interfering in the free market of labor. The government puts arbitrary restrictions on those who want to do this farm work in the form of immigration restrictions. Conservatives (of whom I am one) talk about how much they love the free market, and yet they support massive government intervention in the free market through immigration restrictions. It makes no sense to me.

If people want to work and employers want to hire them, let the market work. It doesn't matter if those wanting to work are from Mexico or from Georgia. Labor is labor; a person is a person. Why are conservatives turning their backs on the free market and individual rights?

Anonymous said...

As a conservative, I have no problem with labor forces from our neighboring countries working for what they are willing to work for anywhere. We grany VISAs for that. Past that, No, they are not citizens and if they wish to become citizens, they are welcome to sign up for lessons and pass the test. If not, then they go home in the off season without benefits, much like Mexico would treat U.S. citizens.

How is this impossible?