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May 2020, Volume 26, Number 2

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RURAL AMERICA

California: Housing, Water
Salinas has severely overcrowded housing, especially in the three-square-mile Alisal district of eastern Salinas that was annexed in 1963. Some of

Meat and Migrants
Some meatpacking plants closed in April 2020 due to workers falling ill to the coronavirus. Meatpacking workers often work alongside each other on

Labor, Virus, H-1B
After adding jobs for 113 consecutive months, employment fell by 701,000 in March 2020 and the unemployment rate rose from a 50-year low of 3.5

FARM WORKERS

California: Virus, Overtime
The coronavirus changed work and personal lives for most people around the world in March-April 2020. Workplaces and schools closed and people were

Florida, Southeast
Lipman Family Farms, the largest US producer of open-field tomatoes, relies on US and H-2A workers for harvesting. The cost of planting tomatoes for

Northeast, Midwest, Northwest
Maine. The growers of 3,800 acres of low-bush blueberries rely on 50,000 hives of honeybees to pollinate their crop in April and May. Some

UFW, ALRB, Unions
National Farmworker Awareness Week, typically celebrated the last week of March to coincide with the Cesar Chavez holiday on March 31, aims to raise

IMMIGRATION

Virus, Asylum, Politics
The coronavirus, which likely originated in a food market in Wuhan in Hubei province in December 2019, changed work and personal lives in the US in

DHS: CBP, ICE, USCIS
The number of unauthorized foreigners in the US dropped from almost 12 million in 2010 to less than 11 million in 2020, as fewer new unauthorized

H-2A; H-2B
DOL certified almost 258,000 jobs to be filled with H-2A workers in FY19. Agricultural labor contractors were certified to fill 41 percent of the

Canada, Mexico
The US closed its borders with Canada and Mexico to non-essential travelers in March 2020, but allowed the free flow of goods to continue. Mexico in

Europe, Asia
The Turkish government in March 2020 encouraged Syrian and other migrants in the country to travel to Greece, breaking a March 2016 agreement under

Virus, Population, Trade
The coronavirus that causes the respiratory disease Covid-19 led to shutdowns of economic activity in China, Europe, North America, and many

OTHER

California: Virus
The coronavirus dominated agricultural discussions after Governor Gavin Newsom issued a stay-at-home order in March 2020. Farming and farm workers

US: Virus, Trade, Sugar
The coronavirus increased the demand for processed food as consumers stayed home. Beef and cheese prices fell as restaurants closed, and milk prices

Wine, Food
Too much wine is chasing too few US consumers. Some 250,000 tons of California wine grapes were not harvested in 2019 due to excess wine in storage

Climate: Fires, Locusts
Australia had its worst wildfires in decades in January-February 2020. Over 16 million acres burned in New South Wales and Victoria, including two

RESOURCES