the farming problem

i had a short post the other week about “crops rotting in the fields” because georgia decided it would no longer tolerate illegal immigrants.

anonymous commented today (a reference would’ve been nice, btw):

“Let me spell it out for you–or rather let a California farmer facing the same problem s-p-e-l-l it out for you: ‘Some economists and advocates for farm workers say the labor shortages would ease if farmers would pay more. Lake County growers said that pickers’ pay was not low — up to $150 a day — and that they had been ready to pay even more to save their crops. “I would have raised my wages,” said Steve Winant, a pear grower whose 14-acre orchard is still laden with overripe fruit. “But there weren’t any people to pay.”‘”

well, first of all, farmer winant has it a bit backwards — if he, and other farmers, start offering higher wages — like on a regular basis — then there will be people to pay. build it and they will come!

secondly, i live in a farming community, so i know it’s not easy and that farmers are not rolling in it. farmers earn next to nothing on the dollar for the meat and agricultural products that they produce. what you pay for an item in the grocery store? — a farmer only gets maybe a quarter of that or less — sometimes much less. and the costs right now? fertilizer has gone through the roof, for one.

so, i understand the desire for cheap labor — especially when all your neighboring farmers are hiring cheap labor and driving you out of business.

but hiring hordes of illegal mexican (or other) immigrants is NOT the answer. it may be a good short-term solution, but it’s not going to solve the problem of keeping farming a viable business in america. and all this mass immigration from mexico (and elsewhere) is extremely detrimental to american society — on all levels (read vdare sometime). plus, i don’t want to live in mexico. if i had, i would’ve moved there a long time ago. i also don’t want my descendants to live in mexico. i think a lot of americans (not to mention mexicans!) are with me on this one.

we all need to start thinking about and planning for the future. i know farmers today have got bills to pay and kids to raise, but this is why we have got to help them out.

it’s in a nation’s strategic interests to be able to feed its own people. what happens in a war situation? do you think we’ll be able to important bananas from any of those banana republics then? prolly not. or consider the rising imports of beef from argentina or brazil. or maybe grain from the ukraine someday. do we want to go down that road where we’ll be dependent on food products from abroad? no, we don’t. bad idea. so, we need to support farming in this country and we need to start doing it now.

americans spend ca. 7% of their household budget on food. that’s nothing. our grandparents (well, omg, for some of you, your great-grandparents) used to spend something like 60% of their household budget on food. i’m not saying we should go back to those good old days, but i do think that americans could re-prioritize to spend a bit more on food every year. maybe, i dunno, keep your i-pods for two years instead of upgrading every year? quit making steve jobs richer and start helping out farmers who put food on your table!

so i think farmers should pay their workers more in order to attract legal workers, even if that means raising their prices. and i think americans should be happy to pay a little extra at the till when they go to the market.

laws like georgia’s are a great idea, only they need to be nation-wide (i know — good luck with that). illegal immigrants need to be eliminated from the job market ’cause they just depress wages. other laws should be changed like unemployment regulations.

look, the farmer quoted above is from california and he says he can’t find any workers — but california’s unemployment rate is 11.7%!:

something does not compute. there ARE workers available in california. 1) raise the wages and they will come. 2) stop unemployment payments to anyone who will not take the first job available to them. the state should not be there to keep you in whatever lifestyle it is that you have achieved while you search for your next hotel-motel management job. no. unemployment should just be a stop-gap solution to keep you from starving until you find a new job. if an unemployed person says no to a harvest job, well then — no more unemployment benefits.

/rant (~_^)

previously: crops rotting in the fields!

(note: comments do not require an email. a fruit harvesting robot might be good, tho!)

One Comment

  1. quite. it’s not so much the farming problem as the food wholesalers driving down farm income problem

    Reply

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