Voluntary farmer survey indicates chronic shortages of agricultural employees
Despite taking a variety of steps to alleviate chronic shortages of agricultural employees, California farmers and ranchers continue to report problems in hiring enough people for on-farm jobs. A recently released survey shows 56% of participating farmers had been unable to hire all the employees they needed at some point during the previous five years.
“The survey shows farmers have tried and are trying all the tactics available to them, such as increased wages, changes in farming and cropping patterns, use of the existing H-2A visa program and automation where appropriate,” CFBF President Jamie Johansson said. “The missing element is an improved agricultural immigration system, to match willing employees with farm employers.”
“Through the years, the H-2A program has proven inadequate for farms in California and throughout the nation,” Johansson said. “Farm Bureau will continue to work with Congress to create a secure, flexible, market-based immigration program that works better for both farmers and farm employees.”
In terms of the proportion of farmers reporting employee shortages, the 2019 results are similar to a CFBF survey in 2017, which showed 55% of farmers experiencing shortages.
A full survey report is available on the CFBF website at www.cfbf.com/2019survey.
The California Farm Bureau Federation works to protect family farms and ranches on behalf of nearly 36,000 members statewide and as part of a nationwide network of nearly 5.6 million Farm Bureau members.