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January 2016, Volume 22, Number 1

Rural America

California: Drought, Napa
California endured its fourth year of drought in 2015, but farm sales appear headed for another record. Water was shifted from low-value crops such

Meat and Migrants
Pilgrim's Pride, the US chicken producing unit of JBS, was accused by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs in October 2015 of engaging

Labor, H-1B
The US economy added 211,000 jobs in November 2015, and the unemployment rate was five percent; employers added an average 210,000 jobs a month in

Farm Workers

California: Piece Rates, Marijuana
California's minimum wage rose from $9 to $10 an hour January 1, 2016. AB 20, which would have required the state to initiate discussions with the

Florida, Southeast
Florida displaced North Carolina as the state with the most farm jobs certified to be filled with H-2A workers in FY15, almost 18,000. Florida

Northwest, Midwest, Northeast
The Environmental Protection Agency on September 28, 2015 released the first update to its farm worker protection standards since 1992. The updated

UFW, ALRB, Unions
ALRB. The ALRB in December 2015 adopted a regulation allowing its agents to enter farms and educate workers about their rights under the ALRA after


DAPA, Politics
On November 20, 2014, President Obama issued an executive order creating the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents

DHS: Border, Visas
The number of unauthorized foreigners apprehended just inside the Mexico-US border was 337,117 in FY15, including 188,000 Mexicans, 57,000

H-2A; H-2B
The number of US farm jobs certified to be filled with H-2A guest workers almost doubled between FY11 and FT15, from 77,000 to 140,000. The number

Canada, Mexico
Since 1966 the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program (SAWP) has allowed Canadian farms unable to recruit workers locally to recruit workers in the

Global Migration
EU. The EU in 2015 struggled to deal with a wave of migrants from Syria and Afghanistan, other Middle Eastern countries, Africa and the Balkans.


Consumer Spending 2014
The US Bureau of Labor Statistic's Consumer Expenditure Survey ( reported 127 million "consumer units" or households in 2014. They

California Agriculture
County agricultural commissioners released reports of the value of commodities produced the year before. Tulare County had farm sales of $8 billion

US Agriculture, Trade
Net farm income is expected to be $56 billion in 2015, down from $90 billion in 2014 and a record $123 billion in 2013. Large harvests of corn (13.7

Wine, Food
California harvested an estimated 3.8 million tons of wine grapes in 2015, down from 3.9 million tons in 2014 and a record 4.2 million tons in 2013.

Climate Change, Development
World leaders met November 30-December 11, 2015 in Paris to tackle the impacts of human activities on the world's climate that could lead to

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