Things could get worse!
With a new president and new rules for immigration the farmers and all of American agriculture is facing a dilemma….a costly dilemma.
The day before harsh new laws came into effect, Brian Cash had 65 Hispanic men picking tomatoes. Now he has none
Brian Cash can put a figure to the cost of Alabama’s new immigration law: at least $100,000. That’s the value of the tomatoes he has personally ripening out in his fields and that are going unpicked because his Hispanic workforce vanished literally overnight.
For generations, Cash’s family have farmed 125 acres atop the Chandler mountain, a plateau in the north of the state about nine miles long and two miles wide. It’s perfect tomato-growing country – the soil is sandy and rich, and the elevation provides a breeze that keeps frost at bay and allows early planting.
For four months every year he employs almost exclusively Hispanic male workers to pick the harvest. This year he had 64 men out in the fields.
Then HB56 came into effect, the new law that makes it a crime not to carry valid immigration documents and forces the police to check on anyone they suspect may be in the country illegally.
If this continues then I expect the price of fresh produce to skyrocket…..this is not just a story for Alabama…it is being repeated in other states as well…