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|NPR -- May 27
Georgia Farmers Say Immigration Law Keeps Workers Away
In Georgia, farmers have almost everything they need for a successful early harvest, as squash, peppers and peaches are ready for market. But one thing's missing: someone to pick them. Fruit and vegetable farmers blame the state's new immigration reform law, saying it's keeping migrant workers away.
In a Newscast report, Melissa Stiers of Georgia Public Broadcasting spoke to Steven Johnson of South Georgia Produce, who says his crop is ripe on the ground -- but there aren't enough people to pick it.
"We're probably at 30 percent of boxes of produce that we would normally get in the spring season," he says. "And it's there in front of you to be got, and the markets are good, and you can't get it. It's very frustrating. "
Johnson says the farmers can't find the labor, as workers who normally come up from Florida are afraid to come across the state line because of the new immigration reform law the governor recently signed. [...]
NPR's Kathy Lohr reported on the new law's possible effects earlier this week. Farm owners have grown increasingly vocal about the shortage of workers, and the state's labor and agriculture agencies are looking for ways to address the situation.
Writing for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Jeremy Redmon reports that the farm jobs "pay $12.50 an hour on average. The state's unemployment rate is now at 9.9 percent."
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