Farms Still Seeing Labor Shortages
Thursday, June 7th, 2012
It’s been nearly a year since Georgia enacted one of the nation’s toughest immigration crackdowns. And it’s had an impact on some small businesses, especially in agriculture.
Georgia farmers in fact fought the immigration law from the start. They argued it would scare away migrant workers they needed to harvest crops.
Many workers – some illegal, some not – did in fact leave Georgia.
Homerville blueberry farmer Connie Horner couldn’t find labor locally or through a federal guest worker program.
And so after last season, she bought a mechanical harvester, and dropped her crop’s organic designation.
“We are in the process of having to replant, as we can, machine-harvestable varieties,” Horner said in a phone interview. “So we’re keeping the farm, we’re going conventional and we’re just going to have to replant, what, 85 percent of the farm over the next few years.”