January 19, 2022
Alternatives to Hand Labor in Lettuce
Head (iceberg) and leaf (romaine, butterhead, and baby) lettuces are the most valuable US fresh vegetable. Lettuce is produced year-round, with 70 percent from CA and 30 percent from AZ. Americans are consuming less head and more other lettuces, so that each type was about half of the 25 pounds per person available in 2019.
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Lettuce Production and Trade
Lettuces, including head (iceberg) and leaf (romaine, butterhead, baby, and other leaf types), are the most valuable US vegetable. Most US lettuce is produced in California (70 percent of US production) and Arizona (30 percent). In 2019, six percent of iceberg lettuce and 13 percent of romaine, butterhead, and other leaf lettuces were imported, but imports are rising fast. Americans have been shifting from head to other lettuces, so that each type was about half of the 25 pounds per person available in 2019.
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IOM: Migration down, remittances up
The IOM’s 11th World Migration Report estimated that there were 281 international migrants in 2020, meaning that 3.6 percent of the world’s 7.8 billion residents were outside their country of birth for a year or more. The stock of international migrants increased by five million a year since 1990, when there were 128 million migrants. The world’s population increases by about 80 million a year.
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5% of US farms account for 60% of farm sales
A farm is defined by USDA as a place that normally sells at least $1,000 worth of farm commodities a year. Farms include 4-H projects and hobby gardens that sell directly to consumers as well as the Resnick-owned Wonderful companies that Forbes estimated have almost $5 billion a year in revenue from 200,000 acres of citrus and nuts in the San Joaquin Valley as well as Fiji water and Teleflora.
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Meat: Covid, Concentration, and Automation
US agriculture is a 50-50 sector. Over half of the $400 billion of annual sales of farm commodities represent the value of crops, including corn and soybeans as well as fruits and vegetables. The other half represent sales of animal products, including meat, dairy products, and eggs. This roughly 50-50 split between crops ($207 billion in 2021) and livestock ($172 billion in 2021) is projected to continue during the 2020s.
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December 30, 2021
H-2A: Growth and Reform
DOL certified over 317,000 seasonal farm jobs to be filled by H-2A workers in FY21, up 15 percent from 275,000 in FY20 and more than three times the 100,000 jobs certified in FY13.
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Farm Workers in San Quintin
The San Quintín area of Mexico’s Baja California state has 11,000 hectares of fruits and vegetables. Most are produced for export, including strawberries, other berries, and tomatoes. Baja California has three major agricultural regions: San Quintín generated 55 percent of the value of farm output in Baja state in 2019, Mexicali, 38 percent, and Ensenada, seven percent.
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AEWRs, FLS, and OEWS
Farm employers may be certified to recruit and employ H-2A guest workers if they satisfy two major requirements: recruitment and adverse effect. The recruitment test requires employers to try and fail to recruit US workers, and the adverse effect test requires employers to offer and pay H-2A and similar US workers an Adverse Effect Wage Rate (AEWR) that is higher than the federal or state minimum wage.
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Central American Migration to the US
There were 3.8 million US residents who were born in Central America in 2019, almost all from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, the Northern Triangle countries. Civil wars in the 1980s, hurricanes and earthquakes in the late 1990s and early 2000s, and government corruption and gang-related crime are the major the push factors encouraging Central Americans to emigrate, while the growing Central American diaspora created a pull into the US.
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Remittances to LDCs: $590 billion in 2021
Remittances, which are monies sent to countries of origin by migrants abroad, reached a record $589 billion to low- and middle-income countries in 2021, up from $549 billion in 2020. Remittances are three times ODA, and surpassed FDI in recent years. Remittances rose in 2021 despite a decline in the stock of international migrants, as migrants abroad sent more money to relatives at home.
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