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January 2008, Volume 14, Number 1

Rural America

California: Jobs, Housing, Budget
Jobs. Fresno county's unemployment rate reached nine percent in December 2007, up from 7.5 percent; California's rate was 5.6 percent. Fresno's

Meat and Migrants
The first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses on January 3, 2008 prompted reporting on immigration, a hot topic for both Democrats and Republicans in the

Rural Development, Doctors
USDA's Business and Industry Guaranteed Loan Program, which seeks to foster development by backing loans in rural areas, makes loans of up to $25

Hispanics, Health
Hispanics were 16 percent of the US metro population in 2005, but only six percent of the nonmetro population. The Hispanic population increased 20

Farm Workers

California: Wages, Vans, CRLA
California's minimum wage was $7.50 an hour in 2007, or $15,600 for 2,080 hours of work a year. The California Budget Project in October 2007

Florida: Tomatoes, Citrus
After marches and boycotts, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers persuaded Yum Brands (Taco Bell) in 2005 and McDonald's USA in 2007 to require the

North Carolina: FLOC
FLOC-NC. The Ohio-based Farm Labor Organizing Committee in October 2007 announced plans to pressure RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company to improve wages and

Northwest, Northeast
Oregon. Oregon produces more Christmas trees than any other state, and finds its industry threatened by artificial trees- half of the trees used in

Colorado, Texas, Michigan
Colorado's Department of Corrections announced that it would expand its inmate farm worker program. In 2007, the DOC provided five crews of 15

UFW: D'Arrigo, US Unions
The UFW on October 9, 2007 reached a three-year agreement with lettuce grower D'Arrigo Brothers covering 1,500 workers. The UFW won an election to


AgJOBS, Shortages
The Agricultural Job Opportunity, Benefits and Security Act (S340/H371) would allow up to 1.5 million unauthorized farm workers to "earn" a legal

The H-2 program in the 1952 Immigration and Nationality Act was very short, with most details left to implementing regulations. In drafting the

Enforcement: Swift, Crider
No-Match. DHS announced a no-match enforcement strategy on August 10, 2007 to encourage employers to fire workers whose data do not match government

Canada, Ireland, Japan
Canada. The United Food and Commercial Workers Canada released its annual report on the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program in November 2007,


California: Commodities, Water, Bees
Peaches. California farmers produced an average 524,000 tons of cling peaches (used for canning) between 1996 and 2005; the 2007 crop was about

US Agriculture, Fruits and Vegetables
USDA projected record US crop sales in 2007, some $148 billion or up $30 billion from 2006 because of sharply higher prices for corn, whose sales are

US Farm Bill, Sugar, Meat
The House approved its version of the farm bill in July 2007; the Senate approved its version, the 1,360-page Food and Energy Security Act of 2007,

Global: NAFTA, Chile, Dole
NAFTA. Mexico's national forestry commission (Conafor) reported that more Mexicans are buying home-grown Christmas trees. About two-thirds of the

Wine and Food
California. California's wine grape harvest averaged three million tons a year between 1997 and 2006, but reached a record 3.8 million tons in 2005.


Agriculture for Development
The World Bank's World Development Report 2008 concluded that migration out of rural areas "is not a guaranteed pathway out of poverty." About 75

OFLC: Labor Certification
The US Office of Foreign Labor Certification released a report on its activities in August 2007, emphasizing that it is helping to "meet American

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