Need work? California farms experiencing worst ever labor shortage

Photo of agricultural fields near Castroville by Jean Vengua

According to a new report by Jane Wells on CNBC, the current California farm labor shortage is the “worst it’s been, ever”; some of the crops aren’t even being picked, and are “just being left in the field” (I hope they are being gleaned for those who are in need). Tim Chiala, of Morgan Hill, has had to abandon his 50-acre string bean crop, because of a lack of laborers, according to an article by Matt O’Brien (

The Western Growers Association says there has been a 20% drop in laborers, due to the stricter border controls. Because of this lack, those who are here to work are being paid higher wages.

Wine growers are concerned about having enough laborers to tend their vines. Unfortunately, the report continues, “When asked if any local residents have come out to apply to work in the fields, Craig Underwood replied, ‘None. Absolutely none.’ He is even having trouble finding truck drivers and other semi-skilled labor for jobs that pay $12-$18 an hour.”

Interviewed by Ag Alert (Christine Souza), San Joaquin county grape grower, Joaquin Goehring, says that his labor contracting business has fallen 40% short of their quota, and that “farmers need immediate solutions…we cannot survive like this.”

Of course, one reason migrant workers from south of the border are valued is because they are experienced. They have been coming here for years, and know how to work fast, and prepare for the difficult conditions. Locals who are not so familiar with farm work will have to be trained. So. It’s harvest time, out there, folks. Anybody need a job? And are you willing to work in the fields?

See also:

* More farmers report shortages of harvest labor

* Massive US Drought Leads to Worst Fears for Corn Crop
* Farms needing crucial migrant labor face daunting regulations
* Labor shortage changing California agriculture