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David Sparks Ph.d Ag Labor Shortage
by David Sparks Ph.d, click here for bio

Program: Line on Agriculture
Date: August 28, 2017

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This is one of those darned if you do and darned if you don’t situations which seem to be appearing more and more in our society. It’s good cop, bad cop, it’s black or white with no shades of gray. The present administration is seriously trying to limit immigration flexibility, and that is understandable from the point of view of minimizing our exposure to terrorism. Contrary to that point of view, American farmers have faced ag labor shortages year in and year out. But according to a new story by the Washington Policy Center the problem has increased in recent years.

The Washington Policy Center’s Madi Clark says, using Washington state as an example, that over 96% of farms experienced a labor disruption of some kind last year. And she notes, over 53% of famers reported some type of damage due to such disruptions…” The farms lost a crop in the field. The other responses were damaged due to labor shortages. Most farmers experience some form of economic loss like having their apples get a little sunburned.”                              


Clark noted that Oregon and California are in a similar situation, due to the labor-intensive crops gown along the west coast.

What can be done? Clark said there are two key issues that must be addressed. The first mechanization in the fields. The second thing is to smooth access to the H2A temporary worker visas.”                                          


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