Agriculture

It's slim pickings for California growers in need of workers

Worker shortage impacting all kinds...

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - People looking for day laborers used to find plenty of them between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. on Yanonoli St. in Santa Barbara, but not anymore.

Russell Dustman said there are fewer people looking for work and the people available are earning more.

He paid a worker about $20 for an hour of work on Wednesday.

John Krist, the CEO of the Ventura County Farm Bureau said, "The labor shortage has become so acute that some are resorting to an expensive guest-worker program to avoid suffering potentially millions of dollars in crop losses."

The H-2A visa requires workers to pay for inbound and outbound transportation, housing and food.

Krist and many farmers consider that cumbersome and expensive.

They are lobbying for immigration reform.

In the meantime, grocery shoppers may see prices go up on crops that don't have enough hands to pick them.


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