Closing Thought–15Feb17

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.

Source: Alabama immigration: crops rot as workers vanish to avoid crackdown | US news | The Guardian

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…


21 thoughts on “Closing Thought–15Feb17

  1. The irony is that these are red states, the bible belt helped put Trump in office, now they will suffer for the immigration policies. Did they not for see the impact of losing the Immigrants that replaced the former field workers that are no longer willing to do the low paying punishing job of picking fruit, hauling tobacco and cotton, the result; farmers will face increased costs, the retailer forced to raise prices and ultimately the consumer will pay the high cost.

      1. I too have lived in these states. I am a Floridian and far south it is a different world, but as we reach central Fl. ones begins to feel the bigotry, the bible belt begins to raise its ugly head. I lived in Ga.and Al. as well, I know how hard it is to work the fields having witnessed the tenacity it takes to withstand hours in the heat laboring for a days wage of a few dollars. The immigrants provide a vital service though they are “used” as less than human at times. Who will replace them…I don’t know anyone.

  2. A lot of our country relies on immigrant and sometimes illegal migrant workers. Our wallets will let us know how this will let us know the amount wiping this out will effect our country. Make ’em legal, don’t kick them out. ~~dru~~

    1. Plenty of people in our prisons who would probably enjoy a day or two outside in the fresh air doing something constructive, wouldn’t you say? Probably a lot of welfare kings and queens who could be tapped for a few hours labor in return for their welfare checks, don’t you think?

    2. Tomatos can be grown in Mexico. I know a lot of the tomatoes I buy come from Mexico because the store manager told me so. Mexican tomatoes work just as well as their higher priced American counterparts.

      1. Trust me! Between government subsidies, crop insurance and the fact that Americans Export tomatoes to foreign markets, the American Farmers’ losses are going to be on paper only!

      2. If it’s anything like Canada, with it’s huge subsidies for agriculture, and the quotas… it would all depend whether you’re a regular family farm, or a corporation. Regular family farm, zilch. Corporate, it’s like being the military – you can only gain, never lose, no matter what. And you get to pollute to your heart’s content, no one can say anything.

  3. Produce costs will have to rise if this proves to be the ‘way forward’. We are facing the same problem here, with workers not coming to pick crops due to Britain leaving the EU. I am not convinced that local people will take those jobs anyway, even if they are better paid.
    Regards, Pete.

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