Post Election Thoughts for Agriculture - 3 of 5 (Immigrant Labor)

In Agriculture we’re talking about low skill labor primarily from south of the border.  The tech companies have their own immigrant needs — usually well educated techies from Asia — who can more easily qualify for work visas.  But we in AG need milkers, produce pickers, and meat processors.  

In my view there are two ways to remedy this need for labor “Americans aren’t willing to do.”  A. Completely eliminate the American welfare system so the couch bound welfare recipient has no choice but to actually go to work.   Or, B.  Create a guest worker program, particularly for Agriculture but also for construction, and service jobs such as landscaping, heavily reliant on immigrant labor.  I’d place my bet on option B.  Because when faced with the reality of digging potatoes, American couch potatoes and their enablers in congress become very energized.  

One last point on immigration.  In exit polls, over 70% of Americans said they want a path to legal citizenship for illegal immigrants working in the U.S.   And lets face it, the reality of rounding up 11 million people - almost all of whom are here working - is simply not realistic.  

Expect a compromise deal on citizenship or work permits for non citizen workers that keeps American Agriculture humming.

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