Reader Feedback

Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Write To The Editor Reprints

Your story may hold water but when you include the farm worker do you realize they are getting minimum wage and some much more?

And do you realize that farms are hiring all the time and I do not see kids graduating from school and wanting to work on this farm starting at minimum wage and working up to be crew boss or something similar.

Are you suggesting that we hire unskilled labor at something like $20/hour to draw the recently graduated high school student?

Are you ready to pay the higher cost of your groceries? If so please tell the buyers at the large grocery chains to pay more for the crops the farmers send them so the farmer can pay better wages.

There are many jobs here that workers could learn and get better wages and some locals do apply but not enough to fill the available jobs.

In fact there are not enough (probably illegals) transients to fill the existing jobs here. We do not pay anyone under the table and if illegals are found out to be we deal with them.

I think that you must go to the farms so you can re-evaluate your writings. As it is I don't think you know very much about what you are saying.

Ric Potter

Lavina Ranch

Peter's Response:

I appreciate your comment and understand that the problem of getting farm labor at a reasonable price is huge.

You're certainly right that my comments reflect no personal knowledge of what goes on in farms. It is based on research from those who do understand it, including studies looking across the entire agricultural sector, which show that 54 percent of all the farm workers in the US are here illegally.

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I'm not sure what the answer is to this problem of finding farm labor, but I don't believe it is to simply to allow workers to come into the country in order to keep wages down.

Research shows quite convincingly that farm workers who come into the country illegally stay; they also move onto other sectors of the economy. So what makes this story more difficult is that the rest of the economy, and particularly the rest of the labor force, ends up paying a price to keep farm labor cheaper.

I can certainly understand why you have an interest in keeping it cheaper. I think you can probably also see why those who are not in the farm business do not share that interest.

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