Trump's Hard Line on Immigration Ruffles Farmers Short on Labor

January 8, 2018 10:47 AM

Rural America turned out for President Donald Trump in the election, but as farmers get ready to hear him speak at the American Farm Bureau Federation conference on Monday, one issue looms large: a shortage of workers.

The Trump Administration’s hard-line stance on immigration and an increased focus on deportations have farmers worried that they won’t be able to find workers to harvest their crops. It’s one of a few key issues, along with trade, that run counter to farmers’ interests.

Too few workers “is the biggest limiting factor we have on our farms today,” Zippy Duvall, president of the federation, said when asked what he’d like to tell Trump. The bureau, the largest U.S. farmer group, is holding its convention in Nashville, Tennessee.

About a quarter of the U.S. farm workforce, more than 300,000 people, don’t have valid immigration papers, according to a 2009 survey by the Pew Hispanic Center. Other studies suggest the number may be more than 1 million and as much as 70 percent of all workers. A policy focused on closing the border could shift 61 percent of U.S. fruit production to other countries and send jobs to nearby nations such as Mexico, according to a 2014 study commissioned by the federation.

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Spell Check

Falls Church, VA
1/8/2018 02:44 PM

  "Most of the analysis of President Donald Trump's victory has been off the mark. He won in the Electoral College on one issue: immigration." Quote from Chuck Litweiler,

Mission Viejo, CA
1/8/2018 12:02 PM

  Watched a white kid quit Wal-Mart last night because he had to move heavy boxes. The Hispanic guy supervising him was clearly irritated. #MAGA

Central Missouri, MO
1/8/2018 12:18 PM

  Zippy needs to see his psychologist, or maybe have a cat scan. There is no shortage of labor in the U.S. any more than there's a shortage of corn. On farms or otherwise. There is however a shortage of wages to the average farm worker. If you start paying the "hired men" as we have been called, on a scale that is realistic, more like the Unions you and many farmers hate, you will see men and families coming to work on farms from the towns and cities. Farmers, especially the 3000 acre and up farmers, have only themselves to blame if they can't get good help. Of course, even Zippy needs an audience.And a paycheck. Cheap labor is so convenient. But don't blame Trump. He is doing what we elected him to do. Build the Wall ASAP. Shut down the immigration loophole, protect our borders and our citizens. Go Trump Go! Here's an idea! Maybe Zippy should go to work on a farm to fill the need? Of course, he might have to work for a Mexican's wage. You won't do that though, will you Zippy?


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