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April 2008, Volume 14, Number 2

RURAL AMERICA

California: Jobs, Housing
In 2003, the Regional Jobs Initiative announced plans to add 30,000 jobs in Fresno and Madera counties paying at least $30,000 a year.

Meat: Swift, Integration
The House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security and International Law held a hearing February 13, 2008 on the tactics used by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency to raid six Swift & Co. meat processing plants on December 12, 2006.

Rural People and Jobs
Rural America has 80 percent of US land and 17 percent of US residents, 50 million.

FARM WORKERS

California: Labor Laws
California Division of Occupational Safety and Health fined YNT Harvesting $26,000 after a 54-year old peach worker died of a heart attack near Kettleman Hills on May 8, 2007.

Florida, Southeast
The Coalition of Immokalee Workers in December 2007 organized a march to call attention to its campaign to persuade Burger King to sign an agreement that would require the growers of its tomatoes to raise the wage they pay pickers by one cent a pound.

Colorado, Northwest, Northeast
HB 1325 would require Colorado's agriculture and labor departments to help Colorado farmers obtain H-2A workers under a five-year pilot program.

California: UFW, ALRB
Cesar Chavez's birthday, March 31, was recognized as a California state holiday in 2000.

US Unions, SEIU
The number of union members rose to 15.7 million in 2007, up 311,000.

MEP: Audits
The federal government developed programs to provide education, health care, and other services to migrant farm workers and their children in the mid-1960s, when residency rules required six- or 12-months residence before receiving welfare or other assistance.

 
IMMIGRATION

Worksite Enforcement, Shortages
The Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, five years old in 2008, plans to expand targeted worksite enforcement.

H-2A, H-2B
DOL proposed regulations on February 7, 2008 to modify the H-2A program to make it easier for farmers to obtain guest workers.

RICO Suits
Chicago lawyer Howard W. Foster has pioneered the practice of filing Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act suits against employers who hire unauthorized workers.

States: Immigration
State legislatures have been flooded with bills to deal with immigration, over 600 in January-February 2008, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Canada: SAWP
The Canadian Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program (SAWP) has been admitting Caribbean farm workers since 1966 and Mexican farm workers since 1974.

Spain: Strawberries, Migrants
About 90 percent of Spain's strawberries are grown in the southwestern province of Huelva.

Oceania, UK: Migrants
New Zealand admits up to 5,000 Pacific Islanders from 11 countries to fill jobs in agriculture for up to seven months.

OTHER

California: Crops, Pesticides, Water
California's production of fresh market vegetables rose to 12.3 million tons in 2007, up three percent over 2006.

US: Land, Meat, Labor
US farmers harvest about 300 million acres each year. In an effort to reduce production and conserve farm land, the federal government has been paying farmers an average $51 an acre to put some of their land into a conservation reserve.

Food Prices, Sustainability
The price of rice and many other staple foods has risen sharply, prompting protests in many poor countries.

Wine and Food
Americans bought 313 million cases of wine in 2007 worth $30 billion or $95 a case, suggesting an average retail price of $7.92 a bottle (313 million cases entered trade channels- it is possible that not all of it was purchased in 2007).

Global: Dole, Palm Oil, Salmon
A Los Angeles jury in November 2007 awarded $3.3 million to six of 12 Nicaraguan farm workers who had sued Dole Food, alleging that they were made sterile by a Dow-made soil fumigant, DBCP, that was used in the 1970s on Dole plantations in Nicaragua.

RESOURCES