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Mon May 14, 2012, 07:12 AM

Some Alabama farmers cut back crops, citing illegal immigration crackdown

Source: AP

"ONEONTA, Alabama -- Some Alabama farmers say they are planting less produce rather than risk having tomatoes and other crops rot in the fields a second straight year because of labor shortages linked to the state's crackdown on illegal immigration.

It's unclear how many farmers are changing their planting patterns this year because of the law and whether consumers might see food shortages on the produce aisle at supermarkets. Some growers say they aren't making any changes from years past, and neither the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries nor the Alabama Farmers Federation has compiled statistics yet for the year.

State agriculture officials said the law has created chronic labor shortages since it was passed last year by the Republican-controlled Legislature, where sponsors said they wanted to drive illegal immigrants from the state by making it difficult for them to live in Alabama."

Read more: http://blog.al.com/wire/2012/05/some_alabama_farmers_cut_back.html



And so it goes...

20 replies, 4530 views

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Reply Some Alabama farmers cut back crops, citing illegal immigration crackdown (Original post)
trof May 2012 OP
zbdent May 2012 #1
bloomington-lib May 2012 #2
JustAnotherGen May 2012 #3
trof May 2012 #4
JustAnotherGen May 2012 #6
trof May 2012 #18
JustAnotherGen May 2012 #19
trof May 2012 #20
AllyCat May 2012 #5
JustAnotherGen May 2012 #7
4th law of robotics May 2012 #9
zeemike May 2012 #12
fasttense May 2012 #8
louis-t May 2012 #14
grandpamike1 May 2012 #10
Crowman1979 May 2012 #11
louis-t May 2012 #13
TalkingDog May 2012 #15
Ex-Pat Pats Fan May 2012 #16
TalkingDog May 2012 #17

Response to trof (Original post)

Mon May 14, 2012, 07:20 AM

1. and they'll support people who push that anti-immigrant legislature, and blame Obama and the Dems

for the rising prices ... go figure ...

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Response to zbdent (Reply #1)

Mon May 14, 2012, 07:35 AM

2. Read the comments. It's all Obamas fault

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Response to trof (Original post)

Mon May 14, 2012, 07:38 AM

3. Having an interest

In farm lands dating back to 1866 in Alabama (Reconstruction Purchased by my great great grandfather - a former slave) - I say hooey hooey hooey!

Here's what you do - Tuskeegee is just down the road. For those students in area you pay them HOURLY - right - I said it . . . and HOURLY wage.

You pay returning professional farmers (some folks have worked for us for 15/20 years) - $20 an hour. You pay that, you put them on the books, you lay them off at the end of the season, and they collect unemployment as seasonal workers. You hire only those with valid papers and Americans. And when you do that - they won't work by the bushel - they know better.

Now you might ask - How does that farm do that? Well that farm has never had a mortgage on it. That farm is owned by the descendents of slaves (that's not the only land - we also have farmed land in Georgia and Mississippi my dad's grandfather and father picked up during the Great Depression) - and you treat HUMAN BEINGS with RESPECT.


This 'b.s.' is just that. So - you make less in profit. So what. All they are really doing is putting more money in the pockets of those who are NOT cutting back on employment or crops or livestock . . . So we can pay more people. So we can make more profit, so we can buy out from under them because inevitably - They. Will. Fail.

Just like their grandparents did in the 1930s and my grandfather and his father sucker punched them, and swooped . . . and won.


trof - Where are you located in Alabama if you don't mind me asking?

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Response to JustAnotherGen (Reply #3)

Mon May 14, 2012, 07:57 AM

4. Foley...coastal Alabama.

Lots of farming in the county.

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Response to trof (Reply #4)

Mon May 14, 2012, 08:28 AM

6. I've actually been in Foley!

I used to manage Gulf Tel years ago when I was a Carrier Account Exec with Global Crossing. Some of the nicest people in the world live in Foley Alabama! Beautiful drives at sunset from Mobile to over there. My father's paternal family hails from Talladega. His maternal line from Mississippi.

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Response to JustAnotherGen (Reply #6)

Mon May 14, 2012, 06:09 PM

18. That was a quick answer to your last question. To address the rest of your first response:

I see you've spent some time down here, but you my not realize the economics of farm labor here.

Hispanics have proved to be good (skilled), reliable, FAST workers in the fields.
Well, no wonder. Most of them are desperate for better paying jobs than they can find in their home countries. And most of them are supporting families back there.
They have little or no security 'safety net' back home.
if you're poor you get no medical care and you can literally starve.
That's a hell of an incentive to leave home and find a better life.

Your comments about how to fill the fields with fairly paid workers sounds good (and, in a perfect world, right) but it just won't work here now.
Not if we still want relatively cheap fresh produce.

Hispanics are one level above slave labor.
Sure, they do get paid.
But usually for production, not hours put in.
I've seen them working and they're incredibly fast.
The money they make depends on it.
The more baskets of potatoes or tomatoes or whatever the field crops are they're picking they can turn in, the more the pay check is at the end of the day.

Yes, if Americans are willing (and able?) to pay higher prices for fresh produce, your plan is good.
And fair.
But I don't think they (we) are.







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Response to trof (Reply #18)

Tue May 15, 2012, 08:17 AM

19. That's why

farmers like us . . . report lowered profits. All of it. All of what you've written. Is it higher prices? Or lower profits? Believe it or not - this is why I'm opposed to Agriculture Subsidies. Dig into Bush Co paying people not to farm. It's chilling what has gone on - with the true cost being an impact to the quality of health and life that people in America experience.


Each year - I will vote for lowered profits to grow cleaner and 'fairer'. Shame on me if I support Fair Trade from other countries crafts people and agricultural workers - but I don't give that same expectation of dignified work to those at home.

I think - those whining the most? They deserve to lose their farms/line of business. These aren't 'family farms' - because if they were - they would understand the ties to the land, the sacrifice that was made to obtain, and for those of us in the black farming community (especially in the South) - the sacrifice our ancestors made when they decided to stand their ground in the face of hatred and an oppresive Jim Crow Regime.

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Response to JustAnotherGen (Reply #19)

Tue May 15, 2012, 07:00 PM

20. You make some damn good points.

Best of luck.
I mean that.

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Response to JustAnotherGen (Reply #3)

Mon May 14, 2012, 08:02 AM

5. Love this. Maybe we don't need 19cent/lb potatoes.

The next argument will be "but food prices will soar!" Our food prices have gone up, but it is lower quality and still "cheap". We eat too much. And if the fat cats that run the factory farms weren't trying to increase their personal profits at ALL costs, we would have people working for living wages and farms that don't pollute the whole planet.

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Response to AllyCat (Reply #5)

Mon May 14, 2012, 08:31 AM

7. Lower quality

Couldn't agree more. Technically - we could be organic - but the philosophy of the Trust Board (i'm a member) is that it is a human right to have natural foods grown without chemicals. Keep in mind - my grandfather WAS using harsh chemicals in the 1930s - but stopped in the early 60's when one aunt born at that time developed cervical cancer and another had a run in with breast cancer. You can't wash chemicals grown into food 'off'.

Human Rights should always trump profits - especially when what you produce is a NEED -not a 'want'.

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Response to JustAnotherGen (Reply #3)

Mon May 14, 2012, 10:42 AM

9. The problem isn't that they will now have to pay a higher wage

 

it's that other farmers in other states (that they are directly competing with) won't have to pay that higher wage.

If all farm laborers got 20+ dollars per hour that would lead to a slight increase in food costs and that's about it. Not much of a net change for the farm owners.

However if some farmers have to pay that and others can pay 5 bucks per hour then the first group will go out of business.

That's what we're witnessing now: near slave wages in some states whereas others have to pay more.

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Response to JustAnotherGen (Reply #3)

Mon May 14, 2012, 11:38 AM

12. Bingo...you got it right.

And the key is being debt free....your father and his father were wise men not motivated by greed but by looking out for the future of his family.

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Response to trof (Original post)

Mon May 14, 2012, 08:55 AM

8. Labor Shortage? What labor shortage? We're in the middle of the 2nd RepubliCON Great Depression and

 

these idiots think there is a labor shortage? What a bunch of fools. They deserve to loose their shirts.

There is NO labor shortage. Only a shortage of fools willing to work for crap wages.

Immigration from Mexico has no slowed down to 0%, yes zero. This happened in the last RepubliCON Great Depression too because the crappy pay here in the US now equals the crappy pay in Mexico. It's not about Alabama's stupid laws.

We run a farm here in TN, we never use illegal immigrants, and we pay fair wages. But I know farmers who use undocumented workers and they can't get them anymore even here in TN. These Wal-mart farmers are hurting. They make money off of underpaying their pickers and now they can't get them anymore. But it's not about laws, it's about economics.

Farming good food does not require you to use and abuse undocumented workers. It can be done without abusing people, animals or the land. It's just those Wal-Mart type farmers that make money off of underpaying their workers that are suffering.

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Response to fasttense (Reply #8)

Mon May 14, 2012, 01:13 PM

14. Or "l-o-s-e" their shirts.

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Response to trof (Original post)

Mon May 14, 2012, 11:15 AM

10. Well, then

Maybe if the farmers were smarter, they would not have voted in the Republicans who are hurting their business. They can blame Obama all they want but the fact of the matter is they are guilty of their own stupidity and they now suffer the consequences. I hope all of the states <Southern> who voted for Republicans to run their states suffer the same outcomes of strict immigration laws.

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Response to trof (Original post)

Mon May 14, 2012, 11:36 AM

11. I applied for temporary agricultural work on the Alabama JobLink website...

....and nobody would hire me. Even when I put my desired wage at the federal minimum. So I think shortage of workers crap is total bullshit.

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Response to trof (Original post)

Mon May 14, 2012, 01:12 PM

13. Why do repugs hate farmers?

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Response to trof (Original post)

Mon May 14, 2012, 02:20 PM

15. "Whatever a man shall sow, that also shall he reap."

Had to.

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Response to TalkingDog (Reply #15)

Mon May 14, 2012, 02:24 PM

16. I thought it was, "As ye sow, so shall ye reap."

 

But it works either way.

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Response to Ex-Pat Pats Fan (Reply #16)

Mon May 14, 2012, 03:16 PM

17. Depends on which version of the Bible you are quoting.

King James Version is considered the only "real bible" in some parts. That's the version I used.

But yeah, the point is made either way.

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