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July 2007, Volume 13, Number 3

Rural America

San Joaquin Valley: Jobs, Freeze, Air
The Sacramento Bee on May 1, 2007 reviewed the housing boom and bust in Merced county, emphasizing that the boom created thousands of construction

Midwest: Meat, New Frontiers
Cargill Meat Solutions, the second-largest beef-packer (after Tyson, which bought IBP), is headquartered in Wichita, Kansas (Cargill is headquartered

Minimum Wages, UI, Mobility
The federal minimum wage rose from $5.15 to $5.85 on July 24, 2007, two months after President Bush signed the Iraq war bill into law. The federal

Farm Workers

California: UFW, ALRB, Card Checks
UFW. The UFW has two major goals in 2007, getting AgJOBS immigration reform enacted by Congress and persuading the California Legislature to approve

Florida, North Carolina, Georgia
Ag-Mart. A federal judge in May 2007 ruled that Ag-Mart, a subsidiary of Philadelphia-based Procacci Brothers and grower of Santa Sweet grape

Northwest, Northeast
The Washington state Employment Security Department released a video in May 2007 to recruit farm workers. It emphasizes that Washington has the

Midwest: FLOC, Colorado
FLOC. The Farm Labor Organizing Committee ( represents about 6,000 Mexican workers who come to the US with H-2A visas and are deployed

MEP Program
The federal Office of Migrant Education has a $386 million a year budget, most of which is distributed to state education agencies (SEAs) to provide

NLRB. In 2003-04, some 60,000 UFCW members went on a 141-day strike against Ralphs, Vons and Albertsons in Southern California to oppose a two-tier


Farm Labor Shortages
As harvesting moved from south to north within California in spring 2007, there were reports of farm labor shortages. Table grapes in the Coachella

H-2A, Global, H-2B
H-2A. The number of farm jobs certified by DOL to be filled with temporary foreign workers rose sharply in FY06 to 59,112; there were 48,366 jobs

AgJOBS and CIRA 2007
The Agricultural Job Opportunities, Benefits and Security Act or AgJOBS (S 340 and HR 371) was introduced as stand-alone legislation in January 2007

Labor-Saving Mechanization
The Bracero program ended in 1964, helping the UFW to win 40 percent wage increases in grape contracts in 1966. There was also a wave of

UK, Germany, Canada, Spain
UK. The Gangmasters Licensing Authority requires labor contractors to be registered. Investigative reports in spring 2007 found some who were not.


How we Eat: 2005
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistic's Consumer Expenditure Survey for 2005, there were 117 million "consumer units," each with an average

California: Water, Commodities
Water. On June 1, 2007, the delta pumps that send water south via the State Water Project were turned off because of too many smelt killed; the U.S.

US Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables, planted on 13 million acres of land (three percent of US crop land), accounted for 29 percent of average crop cash receipts

US Farm & Food Policy, Food Safety
The US is rewriting the 2002 Farm Bill, which expires in September 2007. Initial votes in the House in June 2007 suggest that the new bill, which

Wine: Global, US, EU
Vinexpo ( predicted in June 2007 that the US would be the world's largest wine market by 2010, consuming about 12 percent of the

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