Sep 20, 2014
Home| Tools| Events| Blogs| Discussions| Sign UpLogin

Out to Pasture

RSS By: Steve Cornett, Beef Today

Read the latest blog from Steve Cornett.

Jobs! Get ‘Em While They’re Hot!

Jul 15, 2010

By Steve Cornett

Just to follow up on my last blog post about illegal farm workers earlier this week, the Arizona Republic has a take on the issue at that you can read by following this link.

I hadn’t thought of what a test tube Arizona might be for finding out if guest workers take jobs unemployed Americans want.

The story says the state needs 50,000 temporary farm workers—25,000 of them from out of state—and there are 300,000 unemployed workers in Arizona. It says one of the, presumably typical, undocumented workers plans not to make the trip this year for fear the local police will bust him.

From the Republic’s story:

Hector Lopez, 28, is originally from Oaxaca, Mexico, but has worked in the U.S. for 10 years and lives in Salinas, Calif. Four months a year he harvests lettuce in Yuma, where he earns $10 an hour. But this year will be different, Lopez said.

"The truth is, I'm thinking of finding some other alternative because of the new law," he said.

"What I understand is that now police officers can take on the function of immigration and for whatever infraction, they can arrest you and check your immigration status," said Lopez, who said he earns $4,000 a season in Arizona.

Without putting on my old editor’s hat and asking the reporters for evidence that direct quote is actually as verbatim as the quotation marks indicate, let me note that I know something about harvesting lettuce.

My dad left Oklahoma during the Dust Bowl and spent some time harvesting lettuce in California. It was, as per the memories he conveyed to me decades later, sort of tough work, even for an Okie accustomed to mule-and-hoe agriculture. But he took it. So did a lot of his fellow Dust Bowl refugees. In those days, such work was the country’s “safety net.”

So, we have an interesting test here. If you believe the Republic story, the state has 12 unemployed people for each of the outsider jobs. You’ve got a statewide listing that allows people to find the jobs if they want them.

You’ve got farmers who, as any good union member will tell you, will pay whatever it takes to get help. In fact, Mr. Lopez’ $10 per hour is 38% over the state’s minimum wage of $7.25.

So this should all be good news. With 12 applicants for every one of those 25,000 jobs, the farmers should be able to bid the price a little lower.

Isn’t that how supply and demand works? I mean, assuming the “demand” is really there? 

Let’s see how it works out.

Log In or Sign Up to comment

COMMENTS (31 Comments)

Comrade 12:12-XCCELANT !Good twist w/a decent reversal on facts. Your latest whine has nothing to do w/any other replies (xcept your own) but still a valiant effort .
Am somewhat confused - thought you were the one dreaming of a new 3rd world poverty stricken starving socialist dream land?
Gotta get back to work & make this country a better place ~ even for whinesters like you ! Isnt the USA ! a great place to be ?
11:17 AM Jul 21st
There you go again asumming you know someting about me. It sure would be nice to hear one of you say that you are part of the problem. Quit with the nonsense about you being the hard working fellas and everyone else the dead beats. If anyone should be on the first plane out of here it should be people like you as you seem to have a lock on perfection at least you could do mankind a favor and spread your freedom bravery and hard work ethics in another land. My premise is this you whine about the risk you take as a farmer, and you don't think other businesses take risks every day? Why are you so special? I have lived and worked around farmers for a very long time, some truely are hard working, however most seem the have the entitlment mentality. I would have no way of knowing which you are since I do not know your situation but it seems to me you have a rather distorted view of your contribution to society. Maybe you should get off the farm for a day and see how others make it with out the govt hand out then you can beat your chest about hard work and risk taking. P.S. I hear there are some pretty good travel deals to CUBA! Don't waist any time book it!!
9:27 AM Jul 21st

Receive the latest news, information and commentary customized for you. Sign up to receive Beef Today's Cattle Drive today!. Interested in the latest prices for cattle in your area? See highlights of the latest for-sale cattle in the Cattle-Exchange eNewsletter.

Hot Links & Cool Tools


facebook twitter youtube View More>>
The Home Page of Agriculture
© 2014 Farm Journal, Inc. All Rights Reserved|Web site design and development by|Site Map|Privacy Policy|Terms & Conditions