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July 2021, Volume 27, Number 3

 Click here to download this issue as a PDF file

Rural America

California: Drought, Population
California is experiencing a drought, which also raises the risk of wildfires. The Sierra snowpack, which provides a third of the state’s summer

Meat and Migrants
Red meat prices rose in summer 2021, reflecting rising demand and difficulty finding enough workers to staff dis-assembly lines. A cyber attack

Labor, UI, Wages
The US added 850,000 jobs in June 2021, when the unemployment rate was 5.9 percent. Employment was 152.5 million in February 2020 and dropped by over

Farm Workers

Ag Employment Down, Wages Up
Covid accelerated three changes in farm labor. First is the shift from direct to indirect employment in crop agriculture. There were 1.7 directly

California: Covid, FLCs
Cal/OSHA in June 2021 announced that masks are not required in outdoor workplaces regardless of the vaccination status of employees. Employers should

Florida, Southeast
Farmers in southeastern states compete directly with fresh fruits and vegetables from Mexico. The rapid expansion of fruit and vegetable production

Midwest, Northeast, Northwest
Colorado. Senate Bill 21-087, signed into law in June 2021, grants farm workers the right to unionize and requires them to be paid at least the

UFW, ALRB, Unions
The UFW was decertified at Foster Farms poultry processing plants in Livingston, California in an NLRB-supervised election by a vote of 560-101 in

Immigration

Immigration, Population
President Joe Biden, in his first speech to Congress in April 2021, pledged to push for comprehensive immigration reforms that would allow the 11

DHS: Apprehensions Up
The Department of Homeland Security in April 2021 announced that it would change terms: “alien” would become “noncitizen or migrant,”

H-2A; H-2B
DOL certified almost 9,900 applications to fill 166,000 jobs with H-2A workers in the first two quarters of FY21, up from 8,600 applications and

Canada, Mexico
The Canada-US border has been closed to non-essential travel since March 2020, and may remain closed through the summer of 2021. Over 55 percent of

Europe, Asia
The European Union on July 1, 2021 launched a digital health certificate that permits people who have been vaccinated to travel freely within the

Global: Migrants, Covid
Remittances to low- and middle-income economies were $540 billion in 2020, down only slightly from 2019 despite the pandemic and remittances are

Other

California Agriculture
The Global Harvest Automation Initiative aims to speed up labor-saving change in the fresh produce industry. Denver-based Tortuga says that its

US Ag, Trade
US corn and soybean prices reached their highest levels since 2012 in summer 2021, reflecting Chinese purchases to feed hog herds that were decimated

Food, Wine
Americans spent $1.7 trillion on food in 2020, down from $1.8 trillion in 2019 due to an almost 20 percent drop in food spending at restaurants and

Climate Change
President Biden hosted a climate summit on Earth Day in April 2021 during which several world leaders pledged to reduce their countries’ greenhouse

Employment in the leisure and hospitality industry fell sharply in 2020, and was 14.6 million in May 2021, 10 percent below pre-pandemic levels. Accommodation and food services account for 86 percent of leisure and hospitality employment, and many hotels
High quit rates encouraged hotels and restaurants to raise wages to attract


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