Nationwide, the number of full-time equivalent farm workers declined by almost 22% from 2002 to 2014, according to the Partnership for a New American Economy, which wrote an in-depth analysis of government data on agriculture. The loss in labor was considerably higher in some regions of the U.S, including the Southeast (down 26.9%), defined as Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina, and California (down 39.4%), where the drop in labor mostly happened prior to the drought.
With Congressional attitudes to immigration so entrenched, what steps can the U.S. take to ease some of the labor shortage? With common-sense immigration reform unlikely, our most obvious solution is in a holding pattern for the foreseeable future. That means we’re left with stitching together a series of small fixes.
Here are two ideas that may have a small but positive impact. Both are ways to give students a lot more incentive to work on farms.
Read the full story from Growing Produce: Opinion: If We Want American Farm Workers, We Have to Offer Even More
Read the full report from New American Economy: A Vanishing Breed