Crops unharvested in California due to labor shortage

The problem of crops going unharvested raises a few questions that have been ignored during the anti-immigration debates. If the anti-immigration people are able to shut down the border, are they also willing to pay a lot more money for the produce due to higher wages being paid by the farms? If farmers are struggling to find workers during this economy, clearly they’re not offering enough money for the hard work involved.

Are the farmers themselves ready to pay more money or are their margins already too low? Some are but even then, few want to do this back breaking work. Either way, it’s a pity so see good food go to waste while crops are dying elsewhere in the US.

“This year is the worst it’s been, ever,” said Craig Underwood, who farms everything from strawberries to lemons to peppers, carrots, and turnips in Ventura County.

Some crops aren’t get picked this season due to a lack of workers.

“We just left them in the field,” he said.

The Western Growers Association told CNBC its members are reporting a 20 percent drop in laborers this year. Stronger border controls are keeping workers from crossing into the U.S. illegally, and the current guest worker program is not providing enough bodies.

An American in Paris, France. BA in History & Political Science from Ohio State. Provided consulting services to US software startups, launching new business overseas that have both IPO’d and sold to well-known global software companies. Currently launching a new cloud-based startup. Full bio here.

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