Fruits and Vegetables Nationwide at Risk of Not Being Picked (Video)
The United States agriculture industry is really hurting this year. The storms and flooding throughout the Midwestern states impacted farmers in a variety of ways, from destroying the crops already planted to causing delays in planting or even forcing fields to be left unplanted.
Corn crops were especially impacted, and shoppers can expect to not only find less fresh corn available in their local markets, but to also find canned corn and other vegetables to be higher in price, fewer in quantity. Frozen versions of the products will also be impacted. Across the board, expect to see price increases for all the different products made using corn.
One of the nation’s largest sources of agricultural products is Southern California. Crops which are grown and/or harvested there include tomatoes, oranges, avocados, almonds, table grapes, lettuces, onions, eggplants, strawberries, broccoli, zucchini, cabbages, and plums, along with many other food items.
This year, farmers have not been able to get their fruits and vegetables picked at the peak of the season because of the lack of labor. This lack of migrant laborers is directly related to the increase in national ICE deportations, along with the low number of guest visas available for migrant farm workers to legally enter the United States. This year, ICE has been turning back migrant workers attempting to enter the United States and pick the ripening crops.
When the crops in the field are not picked in time, the grocery market produce shelves may not have certain fruits and/or vegetables available for consumers, have only limited quantities or carry a higher selling price. The worst tragedy is when the food is left in the fields to rot because there are no laborers to harvest the crops. To avoid this event, many farmers are electing to not plant certain acreage, letting fields lie fallow for the 2019 growing season.
For 2019, the annual average of 250,000 laborers available to harvest the fields in Southern California is missing, and with fewer available to do the work, farmers have to wait for migrant crews to be available and must pay more for their services. This has also resulted in some farmers turning to and hiring for cash undocumented migrant laborers in order to get their fruits and vegetables picked on time.
This video talks of these issues, focusing on the San Pasquale Valley in Southern California, and includes Mr. Eric Larson, Executive Director, Farm Bureau, San Diego County, sharing more on the impact farmers there are feeling.
While this story is about one small area in the United States, this issue is really nationwide, impacting farmers coast-to-coast, border to border. Just replace California with another state name, and list the different fruits and vegetables which are not being picked in time there. And what impacts the farmers always impacts the consumer.
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