Wednesday, April 27, 2011

This Labor shortage hits farms as picking season comes to a close

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On Tuesday they came by the car loads armed with bags, baskets and boxes to collect tomatoes.
"And we figured we might as well give them to the public for a dollar a bucket, try to get them out of here," said David Hunsader, who along with his brother own Hunsader Farms in Manatee County.
In generations of farming, Hunsader said his family has never struggled until now to clear the fields due to a lack of hands.
"Why did we get behind? Because we're short help," he said. "We usually have a couple hundred people picking and now we're around 75. We usually have 15 or 20 trucks out here picking and today (Tuesday) we have five or six."
Hunsader put the blame for his lack of help on state lawmakers' push for immigration reform.
"Some of the people (migrant workers) we heard maybe they're leaving the state because of that," he said. "They don't want to get pulled over and taken away. They went out of state or they went back to Mexico."
He estimates that the farm's losses due to the labor shortage may reach into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
"I know of one farm up in Plant City where they said they

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