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Rural Migration Blog

March 2018

Fewer and Larger Farms Produce Most farm Output

The US has a stable 2.1 million farms, defined as places that sell $1,000 worth of farm commodities a year. However, most farm commodities are produced by less than 75,000 farms, under four percent of the total. With most farm output from a relative handful of large farms amidst millions of hobby and retirement farms, averages can be misleading as an indicator of US agriculture.

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Mexican Fruit and Vegetable Exports and Farm Labor

About half of US fresh fruit (53 percent in 2017) and a quarter of US fresh vegetables (31 percent in 2017) are imported. Mexico supplied 48 percent of the imported fresh fruit and 68 percent of the imported fresh vegetables in 2017. The US imported $11.6 billion worth of fresh produce from Mexico in 2017; 53 percent was fruit and 47 percent was vegetables.

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Governments React to Global Compact Proposal

The UN General Assembly in September 2016 proposed a Global Compact for "safe, orderly, and regular" Migration. The GCM aims to commit world leaders to “common principles” and “action items” to strengthen the global governance of migration and to promote the “positive contributions” of migrants.

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California: AB 450 versus ICE

California’s Immigrant Worker Protection Act (AB 450), which went into effect January 1, 2018, requires employers to demand warrants from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents before allowing them to inspect I-9 forms, to notify their employees of upcoming ICE audits, and inform employees of the outcomes of ICE audits. Employers can be fined $2,000 to $5,000 for the first violation, and $5,000 to $10,000 for each additional violation of AB 450.

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The Changing US Workforce

The US workforce is older, more diverse, and more educated than ever before. In 1950, the average age of US workers was almost 38, 73 percent of workers were male and 90 percent were white, and 42 percent had completed high school. In 2015, the average age of US workers was almost 44, 53 percent were male and 75 percent were white, and over 93 percent had completed high school.

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