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January 2019, Volume 25, Number 1

Rural America

California: Fires, Housing
California had its worst-ever fire season in 2018, including the largest mega-fire in recent history, the Camp Fire that destroyed the town of

Rural: Meat and Migrants
Some 60 million Americans live in areas with fewer than 50,000 residents. Some 1,888 of the 3,100 US counties have populations that are more than

Labor, H-1B
The unemployment rate was below four percent in 2018, as the US added 2.6 million jobs, an average 220,000 jobs a month, up from 182,000 a month in

Farm Workers

California: Wages, H-2A Housing
California's minimum wage rose to $12 an hour January 1, 2019 for employers with 25 or more workers, and will be $15 an hour for large employers on

Florida, Southeast
DOL announced in December 2018 that SOL Harvesting paid $53,428 in back wages to its H-2A visa workers and a civil fine of $2,368 for failing to

Midwest, Northeast, Northwest
Maine. Maine has a rising number of farms, 8,200 in 2017 according to the Census of Agriculture, and fewer farm workers. Dairies and the blueberry

The ALRB issued 12 decisions in 2018, including three involving Gerawan Farming and four involving Premiere Raspberries. The Gerawan case involved


Caravans, Birthright, Census
Over 99,000 foreigners applied for asylum in FY18, up from 56,000 in FY17; over 60 percent of asylum applicants were from Central Americans. There

DHS: Shutdown, Wall
Congress failed to appropriate $5 billion for a wall on the Mexico-US border in FY19 funding bills. In retaliation, President Trump allowed nine of

H-2A; H-2B
USDA's Farm Labor Survey reported that the average hourly earnings of field and livestock workers rose six percent between 2017 and 2018, from $12.47

Canada, Mexico
Canada. Countries such as Canada and the US that offer citizenship to all babies born in the country are attracting ?birth tourists,? women who give

Europe, Asia
Europe continues to grapple with foreigners seeking asylum. In November 2018, 77 migrants from South Sudan, Somalia, Pakistan, Ethiopia and Somalia

GCM, Remittances, ANZ
The UN's Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM), which includes 23 objectives to improve the management of international


California: Mechanization, Cannabis
Drones and robots may transform agriculture. Drones can take photos of plants cheaply, and algorithms can process the data and adjust fertilizers

US: Farm Bill, Trade
Congress approved the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 that is expected to cost $867 billion over 10 years in December 2018 that does not include

Wine, Food
World wine production rose 12 percent from 251 million hectoliters in 2017 to 282 million hectoliters or 7.5 billion gallons in 2018; one hectoliter

Climate Change
Almost 14,000 government delegates attended a UN climate conference in Katowice, Poland in December 2018 to develop rules to implement the Paris

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