SELMA (AP) — California’s $44 billion agricultural industry faces a worsening labor shortage as farmworkers age and fewer migrants from Mexico come to replace them.
The Sacramento Bee reports the state’s farming workforce is aging and shrinking for several reasons, including tightening immigration enforcement and an improving economy in Mexico.
In addition, farmworkers say their children aren’t interested in field work.
The California Farm Bureau Federation says more than 70 percent of state agricultural producers expect a worker shortage starting this spring and worsening through the growing season. Experts say the declining number of farmworkers could prompt growers to switch to crops that require less labor.
Lawmakers and farm lobbyists are discussing remedies, including granting legal status to more than 1 million undocumented farmworkers and expanding the number of visas for agriculture.