U.S. Farm Worker Shortage? Where?

By: Jim Gilchrist

An Unaffordable Head of Lettuce? Doubtful.

Dear Americans,

A report just released through the Washington, DC based Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) seriously challenges the boundless myth that there is a shortage of farm workers in the United States.

The unsubstantiated claim, espoused by illegal alien invasion proponents, has been repeated widely as a reason that the U.S. should not enforce its immigration laws.

According to some U.S. political and business interests the United States economy would come crashing down without an unlimited supply of illegal alien slave labor to do all the work.

In addition, they claim, the cost of an apple or a head of lettuce would skyrocket. In fact, this is just not the case. These have always been bogus theories propagandized by the “no-border!” fanatics and unscrupulously hustled upon a naïve public as truth.

The full report, entitled Farm Labor Shortages: How Real? What Response?, authored by Philip Martin, a professor of agricultural and resource economics at the University of California, Davis, is available at http://www.cis.org/articles/2007/back907.html

Among the findings:

# Production of fruits and vegetables have been increasing. In particular, plantings of very-labor-intensive crops such as cherries and strawberries have grown by more than 20 percent in just five years.

# The average farm worker makes $9.06 an hour, compared to $16.75 for non-farm production workers.

# Real wages for farm workers increased one-half of one percent (.5%) a year on average between 2000 and 2006. If there were a shortage, wages would be rising much more rapidly.

# Farm worker earnings have risen slower in California and Florida (the states with the most fruit and vegetable production) than in the United States as a whole.

# The average household spends only about $1 a day on fresh fruits and vegetables.

# Labor costs comprise only 6 percent of the price consumers pay for fresh produce. Thus, if farm wages were allowed to rise 40 percent, and if all the costs were passed on to consumers, the cost to the average household would be only about $8 a year.

# Mechanization could offset labor higher labor costs. After the “Bracero” Mexican guest worker program ended in the mid-1960s, farm worker wages rose 40 percent, but consumer prices rose relatively little because the mechanization of crop harvesting dramatically increased productivity.

# Labor-saving mechanization can be difficult for one farmer, since packers and processors are usually set up to deal either with hand-picked or machine-picked crops, but not both. Government has a key role to play in facilitating mechanization.

Jim Gilchrist, BAJ, BSBA, MBA, CPA – Founder and President

Jim Gilchrist’s MINUTEMAN PROJECT, INC. (DBA The Minuteman Project)

– A multi-ethnic, immigration law enforcement advocacy group.
– Operating within the law to support enforcement of the law.
– The power of change through the power of peace.


P.O. BOX 3944
LAGUNA HILLS, CA. 92654-3944

Visit us at:www.MinuteManProject.com

Also visit my personal web site at:

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