Ag Labor Under Coronavirus Pt 2

Ag Labor Under Coronavirus Pt 2

Bob Larson
Bob Larson
With today’s Fruit Grower Report, I’m Bob Larson. Getting enough labor to harvest our northwest crops during this coronavirus could be a challenge this year.

The State Department has deemed agriculture as “essential” and Homeland Security has waived much of the red tape for H-2A visas, but Pam Lewison, Director of the Initiative on Agriculture at the Washington Policy Center, says that’s just on the U.S. side, not the foreign consulates …

LEWISON … “So, I think we’re all sort of in a wait and see on that side. Hopeful, but we’ll just have to see how it bears out as things move along through the season.”

Lewison says the labor supply may be short, but it should be manageable …

LEWISON … “Everything that I have heard is, you know, that if it’s going to be short, it won’t be terrible, you know, maybe 90% of normal or so. So, not an awful shortage, but certainly people are going to be hustling.”

And, Lewison says most of the supply chain is up and running …

LEWISON … “The thing to remember is that because the ag community on the whole is considered an essential service, and that includes everything from bee keepers to tree fruit producers to truckers to your local grocer. Everyone in the supply chain is doing everything they can to make sure that we, as a state, as a country, are going to continue to be fed and to function.”

So, Lewison says if you’re out and happen to see a farmer, give them a wave to show your appreciation for all they do to put food on our tables.

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