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David Sparks Ph.d Labor scarce and Pricey
by David Sparks Ph.d, click here for bio

Program: Idaho Ag Today
Date: June 10, 2019

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From the fields of Payette county, workers are hard to find and wages are competitive. In Idaho, unemployment hovers at just 3 percent. And it's a workers market and employers compete for work crews. Galen Lee, from Sunnyside Farm: “We've had one of our workers came back. Said he had a really good offer to go over there to work. They offered him a lot more money but we talked to him a little bit. He did like it here. He ended up staying but we're competing with that. And so labor prices have gone up every year and prices are a little higher. It's been kind of hard to find help but right now we're doing OK.


Doing OK because of Corral Ag labor. For years Corral has taken care of Galen Lee’s Sunnyside farm. Workers are family in this operation and many have been on this crew for decades. Robert Corral, Corral Labor: “We run throughout the year probably 200 to 300 people. It's stress but it’s work. We need it.” And the profile of your workers, are they H2A? “No. We don't contract anybody. We get local. We have had the same crews for years. it goes back to the days of my grandpa.” “We've got enough right now to work the fields. Labor is kind of tight everywhere and we're close to Oregon. And wages are higher there. Some other draws. We deal with it and we go and we roll with the punches and get the crop in.” So this year in Idaho wages will be up. Workers scarce. And hopefully farmers can get their crops in.

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