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While Congress debates the latest immigration reform proposal, growers in states like California wonder how much longer they can wait. For them it is more than a debate, it is their livelihoods. An asparagus grower told me she has to leave part of her crop in the field because of a lack of workers. A vineyard owner told me that without significant improvement in immigration policy she isn't sure she can stay in business. Both say they can't find U.S. citizens willing to do the work. The debate has evolved over the years to where the United Farm Workers and growers are now on the same side but that may not be enough to push this bill through. Issues like amnesty and border security threaten the bill now moving through Congress and that worries many in the ag community. It should worry everyone because it could have a significant impact on our food availability and price. We have seen what happened when we became dependent on other countries for our oil and how difficult it is to break that dependence. We need to make sure that doesn't happen with our food. Ironically the first step in preventing a dependence on another country for our food may be to accept our dependence on them for our workers.
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