09/15/2019

Could California produce soon cost you more? Farms face labor shortages, immigration woes

California farmers, anchors of a $50 billion industry that represents 13 percent of the nation’s agricultural value and a critical source of its produce and milk, are facing an unprecedented squeeze on their livelihoods that could have repercussions in households from coast to coast.

Beyond a decade-in-the-making labor shortage, spurred in part by a lack of replacements for an aging work force, California’s newly enacted overtime pay law and the Trump administration’s tense rhetoric over immigration have ratcheted up concern among both farmers and those they rely on to work the land.

. . . The most blunt of agriculture veterans simply say that their futures may involve shifting to less labor-intensive crops, perhaps operating solely out of Mexico-based operations or possibly shuttering their businesses altogether.

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