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October 2009, Volume 15, Number 4

RURAL AMERICA

California: Drought and Jobs, Budget
The debate over the loss of San Joaquin Valley farm jobs due to the drought dominated farm labor discussions in summer 2009. Up to 250,000 acres on

Meat, Poultry
Beef. Brazilian-based JBS bought Swift in 2007; Swift's financial condition deteriorated after December 2006 raids at six plants that removed 1,200

Income, Poverty, Health Data
The US Census Bureau released 2008 income, poverty, and health insurance data in September 2009. Real median household income for the 117.2 million

FARM WORKERS

California: Heat, UFW, UI
Heat. The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health on July 16, 2009 for the second time rejected revised regulations that would set an

Florida, North Carolina
The Migrant Farmworker Justice Project filed suits against tomato grower Ag-Mart, alleging that its electronic timekeeping system recorded fewer

Northeast, Northwest
New York. On June 12, 2009, Border Patrol agents detained several suspected unauthorized Mexican migrants in western New York, prompting a discussion

ALRB, EFCA, Unions
ALRB. California's Agricultural Labor Relations Act in 1975 granted the state's hired workers the right to form or join unions and required farm

 
IMMIGRATION

H-2A Re-revised, AgJOBS
The effort to re-engineer the H-2A program continued on September 4, 2009, when the US Department of Labor (DOL) announced revised regulations that

H-2A, H-2B Cases, RICO
There were several cases filed against farm employers and contractors who employed H-2A workers in summer-fall 2009; most involved the admission of

Unauthorized: Border, Interior
The number of unauthorized foreigners in the US fell from 12.5 million in summer 2007 to 10.8 million in early 2009, according to an analysis of

Canada: Unions and Migrants
Farm workers are generally excluded from provincial labor relations laws in Canada, but this exclusion may disappear as unions argue in court that

Australia, UK: Migrants
Australia. Newspaper reports highlighted the use of contractors to act as risk absorbers in fruit-picking in October 2009. Interviews with workers

Mexico: Migration Pressure
Almost 12 million Mexican-born residents live in the US, including some seven million who are unauthorized. Mexico has 110 million residents in

OTHER

California: Sales, Strawberries
California had farm sales of almost $37 billion in 2007, almost double the $19 billion (each) of number two Texas and number three Iowa. Leading

Food Safety, Europe Subsidies
Food Safety. The Food Safety Enhancement Act (FSEA) of 2009 broadens the power of the Food and Drug Administration, which regulates about 80 percent

Wine and Food
As California wineries began to crush wine grapes in fall 2009, many growers worried about finding a home for their grapes. Many sell wine under

Global: Land, Dole, Wal-Mart
Some richer countries with too little land to grow food are buying or leasing land in poorer countries to produce food that will be exported back to

World Bank: Ag Sustainability
Agriculture is a unique industry riddled with contradictions, including the tendency of governments to subsidize wealthier-than-average farmers in

RESOURCES

California Ag Employment
EDD reported on the characteristics of workers employed on agriculture based on Current Population Survey data for 2008, which found 372,600 farm