"Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please." (Mark Twain)
Friday, December 09, 2005
For a few months now, media reports about a farm-labor crisis have been emerging from industrial-scale vegetable production areas like California's Central Valley and Arizona's Yuma County. Tales of fruit rotting on the vine abounded. In short, not enough Mexicans are sneaking across the increasingly well-guarded border to harvest fruit and vegetables.
And the ones who do are tending to forsake agriculture for the booming construction trade, which tends to pay more and offer steadier work.
In the past week or two, as California and Arizona prepare for the winter-vegetable harvests -- the source of much lettuce now gracing supermarket shelves in places like Chicago and Boston -- media reports have grown more shrill. Talk of crop loss continues; but farmers are now talking openly of shutting down....
One farmer trade group spokesman put it bluntly to the [Los Angeles] Times: "Our crops are going to be harvested by a foreign workforce either here or somewhere else."