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April 2011, Volume 17, Number 2

Rural America

California: SJV Jobs, Budget
Fresno county, which has almost a million residents, has both labor surpluses and shortages. The county's unemployment rate was 17 percent in winter

Meatpacking: Jobs, Safety
Meatpacking figured prominently in hearings held by the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration Policy and Enforcement. Chair Elton Gallegly

Population, Welfare
The census released data on the number of US residents and their racial/ethnic characteristics from the 2010 census. Data on socio-economic

Farm Workers

California: Heat, UI
Heat. Maria Isabel Vasquez, a pregnant 17-year old farm worker, collapsed on May 14, 2008 in a Lodi-area vineyard and died two days later. Both

Florida: CIW, North Carolina
Fast-food chains agreed, after boycotts organized by the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, to pay Florida tomato pickers an extra penny a pound for the

Washington, Oregon
Washington. The UFW has been trying to organize the 40 workers at the Ruby Ridge Dairy in Pasco, Washington for several years. In August 2009, four

New York, Pennsylvania, Maine
New York. A 2009 survey of 933 New York fruit, vegetable and dairy farms found entry-level wages of $8.25 to $8.50 an hour. The wages for experienced

UFW, Labor Relations Boards, Unions
UFW. California and several other states celebrated Cesar Chavez day March 31, the day Chavez was born in 1927; Chavez died in 1993. March 31 is

QCEW. The Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages ( provides detailed data on workers covered by Unemployment Insurance. In 2009,


Immigration Reform: States, House
President Obama, in his January 25, 2011 State of the Union speech, urged Congress to enact comprehensive immigration reform. He said: "I know that

H-2A: Global; H-2B: Cases
H-2A. The US Department of Labor published Adverse Effect Wage Rates (AEWRs) for farm employers seeking permission to hire H-2A workers. These

DHS Enforcement
The Pew Hispanic Center estimated there were a peak 12 million unauthorized foreigners in the US in 2007 and 11.2 million in 2010; 58 percent were


California: Sales, Grapes, Water
California. California's farm sales were $35 billion in 2009, down from the record $38 billion in 2008; number two Iowa had farm sales of $21

US: Land, Biotech, Policy
Farm land prices in Midwestern states have been rising in response to higher corn and soybean prices, low interest rates, and an influx of investors.

Wine, Food, Obesity
California crushed almost four million tons of grapes in 2010, about the same as 2009; about 13 percent of the grapes that were crushed in 2010 were

Global: Food Prices, Children
Food Prices. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization reported in January 2011 that food prices were rising around the world because of bad weather

Climate Change and Sustainability
Global temperatures have been above the 20th-century average for 34 consecutive years. The year 2010 tied 2005 as the warmest year ever recorded; it

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