Major Grower Ends Crop, Lacking Workers – AP

Big Win For Nativists! We didn’t like home grown tomatoes anyway.

This is an important article to read because it’s telling of things to come if the nativists get their way. It’s easy to say who should work where, but I don’t see the mass of Pennsylvania anti-migrants volunteering to pick tomatoes on the weekend.

I don’t have all the answers for those people out of work, but here was an opportunity for 175 people to make a living and provide food to their local community that has now come and gone. It’s gone for citizens and it’s gone for migrants who wanted to contribute and make a living. Just gone.

Major Grower Ends Crop, Lacking Workers – AP

By MICHAEL RUBINKAM
March 24, 2008

CLARKS SUMMIT, Pa. (AP) — Saying the nation’s immigration system is broken, Pennsylvania’s largest grower of fresh-to-market tomatoes announced Monday he will no longer produce the crop because he can’t find enough workers to harvest it.

Keith Eckel, 61, a fourth-generation farmer and the owner of Fred W. Eckel Sons Farms Inc., said he saw a dramatic decline last summer in the number of migrant workers who showed up to pick tomatoes at his 2,000-acre farm in northeastern Pennsylvania.

“There are a number of workers hesitant to travel, legal or illegal, because of the scrutiny they are now under,” said Eckel, whose tomatoes have been shipped to supermarkets and restaurants throughout the eastern United States. “So there are less workers crossing state lines.”

Eckel, who planted 2.2 million tomato plants last year, said he also will stop growing pumpkins and will plant half as much sweet corn as usual, resulting in a loss of nearly 175 jobs.

Though Eckel’s tomato pickers made an average of $16.59 per hour last year, he said the relatively high wage is not enough to attract local labor to work the fields.

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2 thoughts on “Major Grower Ends Crop, Lacking Workers – AP

  1. In response to the comment Aunt B. made:

    Going back to our American History:

    This land has been built by a good percentage of the work of immigrants (legal or not). In addition to this, I do agree with Mr. Keith Eckel that we need farm labor, not just in tomatoe or pumpkin farms, we also need farm labor for the production of corn that is feed supplement to cattle/dairy that sits in your fridge (ice cream, milk, steaks, prime ribs, chicken, starch, corn syrup found in all sweets), not including the production of other farm related products that are found in our homes (apples, cherries, pears, potatoes, strawberries, lettuces, vegetables, etc…). A good percentage of these products are farmed by “yes” the immigrants!

    Do you have an idea of what a farm worker has to go through when working out in the fields? Low wages, exposure to direct contact with the sun, high or low weather conditions, and having to other option but to work very hard to be financially stable rather than asking for government or federal help that many of us “citizens” take advantage of. The jobs that the farm workers have help keep those who don’t want to work in the fields in better paying jobs (federal or private), these workers help create better economy for our society by creating other jobs in warehouses, grocery stores, retail stores, restaurants, etc…

    You tell me!
    As it is now, prices for everything are much higher than you could have ever imagined, and they don’t seem to have a limit. If the farmers in this country cant find labor to keep their farms up and running, they can switch to technology (which is not that affordable for those who are beginning or new farmers, and even for the big ones), or they can simply stop farming and sell their farms and people can build more homes, apartments, buildings, etc… which means that the agriculture industry can simply disappear, so we can import all the agriculture products from other countries at what ever price they please, and remember, those products would be produce by foreign “Immigrant” farm workers…

    Are you willing to starve yourself to death by not consuming nutritious foods just to proof your point???

    Now how about this:

    • Have you ever spent over 80 hours a week bent forward with long sleeved shirts, wearing a hat to cover your face from the burning sun at 100ºf, running while performing a task that requires you to use both hands and catch up with the rest of the group???
    • Have you carried the aluminum 10’, 12’ or 14 ladders while trying to place them between branches of trees that are over 10yrs old and in steep hills, carrying a clothed bag that holds over 90lbs of apples, oranges, pears, etc…?
    • Do you know what it feels like to wake up every morning at 3:30 or 4:00 am in order to drive for 30 – 90 minutes to get to your workplace hopping the owner of the orchard has not decided to spray that day so you wouldn’t have to drive back home with 1 day paid less for the week? Or hopping that tomorrow won’t rain or is not too hot that you will not be allowed to work for that day even if you showed up?
    • Have you missed school appointments regarding your children’s education, game, or doctor’s appointment because you’re afraid if you miss a day your boss will replace you, even if you ask permission?
    • Have you had to separate your dirty clothes from the rest of the family’s when its time to do laundry because your clothes have chemicals, fertilizers and other materials that are found and get attached to you while working in the orchard?

    I am not against the law, this nation has been built based on principles, values and laws, per example; Who would think that it was okay to have a black slave and be okay to cut his/her ear off if he/she was found lying to a white person…., Thanks to GOD, this has changed for good since there were people in this nation that believe that EVERYONE SHOULD BE TREATED THE SAME, BE GIVEN A CHANCE TO BE ABLE TO LIVE A BETTER AND FREE LIFE,….. I would like you to think “hard” for you to realize that live is not so easy for those less powerful in this nation, not even for those who live in United States.

    JA

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