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January 2004, Volume 10, Number 1

RURAL AMERICA

California: Welfare, Housing, Budget
Welfare rolls have declined in the San Joaquin Valley, but unemployment remains high. In Fresno county, 22,930 families receive CalWORKs cash

Midwest: Demographic Change
Copley News Service on November 20, 2003 profiled Beardstown, Illinois, a city of 7,000 famous for the Beardstown Ladies Investment Club.

FARM WORKERS

California: Farm Labor
SB 796 allows California employees to bypass the normal labor law enforcement system, the Labor Commissioner, and sue their employers on behalf of

UFW: ALRB, Gallo, LM-2
On October 16, 2003, the ALRB issued its first mandatory mediation decision, ordering that a mediator's recommended collective bargaining agreement

Midwest: Churches Endorse Boycotts
In March 1999, the Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC), announced a consumer boycott of the products of North Carolina-based Mt. Olive Pickle

Florida: News Series, FTAA
In August 2003, the Miami Herald ran a series of articles entitled "Fields of Pain" that charged that FLCs were targeting homeless shelters and

Northwest
Idaho. Anheuser-Busch has since 1987 owned Agricultural Resources Inc.'s Elk Mountain Farms, about 20 miles northwest of Bonners Ferry near the

Labor, MSFW Services, Data
Employment/Unemployment. The US unemployment rate was six percent in October 2003, 5.9 percent in November 2003, and 5.7 percent in December 2003,

 
IMMIGRATION

AgJOBS, Guest Workers
President Bush on January 7, 2004 unveiled a program that would permit the six to eight million unauthorized foreigners in the US with jobs to

H-2A, Braceros
The Western Range Association and a Kern County rancher Ben Ansolabehere paid $20,000 to a Peruvian sheepherder who alleged he faced

Canada: SAWP, BC
The Commonwealth Caribbean and Mexican Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program admits foreign workers for seasonal employment on Canadian farms.

Sanctions Enforcement
On October 23, 2003, Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents arrested 250 illegal migrants who worked as janitors for outside contractors at 60

OTHER

California, Wine
California had farm sales of $27.6 billion in 2001. Almost a quarter of farm commodities by value were exported, with almonds, cotton, wine, table

US Farm Policies. GMOs
The New York Times wrote a series of editorials in Fall 2003 focusing on how farmers in developing countries are hurt by subsidies given to farmers

Mad Cows
In December 2003, the first US cow with BSE was discovered on Washington state dairy farm near Yakima with 4,000 cows. The "cow that stole

Water, Fish, Cotton
San Diego will buy 200,000 acre-feet of water from the Imperial Irrigation District at $258 per acre-foot under a 75-year deal. This will provide

Russia: Migrants
Russian Migration Minister Vladimir Zorin said in December 2003 that "Labor migrants account for only 0.7 percent of the workforce and nationwide

Africa: Land, Cotton
South Africa has about 40 million Blacks and four million whites; 90 percent of the commercial farm land is owned by 50,000 white farmers.

RESOURCES

Immigration and US Workers
The House Judiciary Committee on October 30, 2003 held a hearing on "The Prospects for American Workers: Immigration's Impact."

Nafta at 10
The North American Free Trade Agreement was 10 years old on January 1, 2004. In the early 1990s, Nafta was controversial in the US, with presidential candidate Ross Perot asserting there would be a "giant sucking sound" of jobs leaving the US for Mexico.