Thursday, October 05, 2006

Another traditionally conservative group, U.S. farmers, is feeling the sting of Republicans as their workforce of migrant workers dries up under new and tougher immigration laws. Fruit goes unpicked. Factories run at half capacity. Attempts to recruit resident workers yield minimal results. Domestic produce growers are worried.

It's hardly a shock. American farms have relied on cheap foreign labor since before we had a Constitution. Perhaps it is time to change that. But should farmers be forced to do so without help?

Where are the federal tax incentives to encourage farmers to hire citizens and citizens to work the fields? Where's the bill to send children to work on farms during school summer break as they did back in the "good old days"? The fresh air, fresh food and honest labor will do them good. How about a commune program to give welfare recipients an opportunity to do seasonal farm work?

Don't like those ideas? Well, let's see you come up with something better. Personally, I'd prefer to stick with the cheap foreign labor approach, but that's just because I'm the descendant of cheap foreign laborers. However, if reducing that labor pool is our goal, we'd better implement at least some measure to encourage residents to fill the void. (And by "we", I mostly mean "you" because I favor buying directly from small local farms with lower labor requirements.)

CateGoogles: political_silliness
Mood = unimpressed

Farmers feeling the immigration pinch


  1. Everyone, including Native Americans, moved here from somewhere else at some point. I really don't get the anti-immigrant viewpoint.

    Given that the farm lobby is rather strong (and rural voting power is disproportionate in the Senate), I'm surprised that the recent bill went through.

    I suspect it's because the more powerful agro-corporations like ADM are very mechanized and rely less on labor than smaller farms.

    I wrote my comments about the bill (law, now, I suppose) here

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10/06/2006 10:57:00 AM

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