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Farm Labor & Rural Migration News Blogs

Covid-19 and Meatpacking

June 24, 2020

Meatpacking was considered an essential business during the coronavirus emergency, and most animal dis-assembly plants expected their employees to continue to work. Meatpacking plants, nursing homes, and prisons were three hotspots for US Covid-19 infections.

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Mexico-US Agricultural Trade

June 24, 2020

Mexico-US trade totaled $671 billion in 2019, when the US exported goods and services worth $299 billion to Mexico and imported goods and services worth $372 billion from Mexico, that is, the US trade deficit with Mexico was $73 billion.

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US Farm Employment and Farm Workers

June 24, 2020

The average employment of hired workers in US agriculture is about 1.5 million, and there are 2.5 million individuals employed for wages on US farms sometime during a typical year. Farm employment is concentrated in three interrelated ways: by geography, commodity, and size of farm. The 10,000 largest fruit and berry, vegetable and melon, and horticultural specialty (FVH) farms in CA, WA, FL, and TX account for over half of US farm employment, including a third in CA.

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Covid-19: Implications for Farm Workers

June 24, 2020

The Covid-19 virus that shut down large parts of the world and US economy in spring 2020 had both short- and long-term effects on farm workers. Farm and other food system workers were deemed essential and expected to continue to work during the pandemic. Foreign farm workers were also considered essential, and special arrangements were made to ensure that H-2A guest workers could obtain work visas and enter the US despite closed borders.

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CDFA: California Agriculture in 2018

June 24, 2020

California’s farm sales were $50 billion in 2018, the same as in 2017. Iowa was the number two farm state with sales of $28 billion, followed by TX, NE, and MN. These top five farm states accounted for 37 percent of US farm sales of $373 billion.

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The H-2B Program in 2020

May 19, 2020

There are 66,000 H-2B visas a year available to US employers seeking foreign workers to fill seasonal nonfarm jobs, such as those in landscaping and gardening. Employers typically request over 100,000 H-2B visas, prompting Congress to authorize DHS to increase the number of visas available by 15,000 in FY17 and FY18 and by 30,000 in FY19.

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Nonmetro employment, Covid-19, and meatpacking

May 19, 2020

Rural or nonmetro areas did not rebound from the 2008-09 recession as fast as urban or metro areas. Employment fell five percent in both rural and urban areas between the end of 2007 and the end of 2009. By 2019, rural employment had not yet returned to its 2007 levels, while urban employment was 10 percent higher than in 2007.

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Declining Seasonality in California Agriculture

May 19, 2020

California has fewer and larger farm employers today than in 2000, when 23,600 agricultural establishments hired an average 405,600 workers and paid $7.1 billion in wages, an average $30,000 per farm. In 2018, some 16,800 agricultural establishments hired an average 423,300 workers and paid $14.6 billion in wages, an average wage bill of $86,900 per farm.

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The H-2A Program in 2020

May 19, 2020

The H-2A program allows farm employers to request certification from the US Department of Labor to recruit and employ foreign workers to fill seasonal farm jobs, generally defined as those lasting up to 10 months. DOL certified 257,666 jobs to be filled with H-2A workers in FY19, when the top five H-2A states, Florida, Georgia, Washington, California, and North Carolina, accounted for over half of all H-2A jobs certified.

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QCEW: Who employs California farm workers?

May 19, 2020

Who employs California’s farm workers? EDD publishes size-of-business data that group businesses or establishments by their number of employees.

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