Shortage Of Farm Labor In Valley

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(Sacramento, CA)
Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Not too long ago there was a farm labor pool of 40 to 50 thousand in the Valley. Now the estimate has dwindled to about half of that according to Dave Kranz of the California Farm Bureau.

"This year we've been hearing more reports from more places and more crops of more people who are having trouble finding more help."

Since many of the workers are undocumented immigrants, some growers attribute the shortage to tighter patrolling of the border.

Mark Grossman of the United Farm Workers Union says the shortage has more to do with field hands getting tired of the backbreaking work and low pay.

"As soon as they can they get out. They get a job in construction, in hotels, in restaurants, anything else."

The union and farmers agree that the problem is only going to worsen. Both parties are calling on Congress to amend a law to increase the number of undocumented workers who can enter the state during harvest seasons.