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April 2009, Volume 15, Number 2

Rural America

California: Drought, Housing, Population
California is in its third year of drought. In normal years, about six million acre-feet of water are released from dams constructed by the federal

Midwest: Meat and Migrants
Agriprocessors. On May 12, 2008, immigration agents raided the Agriprocessors kosher meatpacking plant in Postville, Iowa, arresting 389 mostly

Foreign-Born: People, Workers
People. The American Community Survey ( estimated there were 38.1 million foreign-born US residents in 2007; 12.6 percent of

Farm Workers

California: Unemployment, Heat
Some 650 dairy workers in Tulare county reached a $1.3 million settlement of a class-action suit in March 2009 alleging that they were not

UFW, ALRB, California Unions
There were marches around the US in honor of Cesar Chavez near his birthday, March 31, a state holiday in California and nine other states: Arizona,

Florida, North Carolina
The Coalition of Immokalee Workers, founded in 1993 in Immokalee, threatened boycotts of fast-food chains that buy mature green tomatoes from about

Washington. There were plenty of farm workers in Washington and other states in 2008-09. The orchard manager at Broetje Orchards in the southeastern

Labor, NLRB, Unions
The federal minimum wage rose by 70 cents to $6.55 per hour on July 24, 2008; it will rise to $7.25 in 2009. Some 2.2 million US workers earned the


H-2A Re-Engineering, OES
The US Department of Labor (DOL) "re-engineered" its H-2A regulations effective January 17, 2009, converting the H-2A program from a certification to

H-2A Workers: Cases; H-2B
USCIS released nonimmigrant data for FY08, recording 173,100 H-2A admissions; 95 percent were Mexicans. USCIS data count events, not individuals, so

Governor Janet Napolitano (D-AZ) was confirmed as Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security in January 2009. Napolitano said that "it has

Canada: Ontario Farm Workers
The Ontario Court of Appeal in November 2008 ruled that the province's Agricultural Employees Protection Act, which does not require farm employers

Australia, New Zealand: Migrants
Australia, New Zealand: Migrants New Zealand and Australia have guest worker programs with Pacific Island countries to fill seasonal farm jobs and

Migrants: UK, Brazil
Migrants: UK, Brazil The National Farmers' Union complained in February 2009 that there was a shortage of at least 5,000 farm workers despite rising unemployment and British worker protests about the employment in the UK of workers from Italy and Portugal.


COA 2007: Labor
The Census of Agriculture for 2007 was released in February 2009. ( It reported that the 2.2 million US farms had sales of

California Agriculture: Water
Water. The 500,000-acre Delta region, where the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers meet, is the transit point for water transfers from northern

US Food: Salmonella, Food Safety
Net farm income, $87 billion in 2007 and $89 billion in 2008, reached record levels with high commodity prices. However, falling commodity prices

Wine and Food
California crushed almost 3.1 million tons of wine grapes in 2008, down six percent from 2007 (the total crush was 3.7 million tons, including grapes

Global: Water, China, Chile
Most of the world is covered by water, but only three percent is available for use as fresh water. An average one liter of water is required to

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