Labor Down, Waste Up

As bemoaned in this editorial, immigration law in Colorado leads to food waste by reducing the number of workers.

photo by Elaron (via Flickr)When there aren’t enough laborers, or “pickers”, the harvest is often squandered (unless it’s not a great year). Commercial orchards resemble the scene underneath your neighbor’s fig tree, as apples, pears, peaches, etc. “go to ground.”

I’m not suggesting that we allow illegal immigration en masse, but that our legislators need to tackle this issue (and not give up on it). Perhaps the next President can lead the way.

It will take hard decisions and thick skin, but something has to give. Maintaining the status quo won’t work. Farm labor is becoming increasingly rare, as native-born Americans shun physical labor.

This problem is by no means specific to Colorado. The number of itinerant laborers has decreased from Maine to Oregon (check out this sad photo from the latter). Heck, The Orange County Register deemed the problem applicable enough to run the above editorial in their paper.

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