American Fruit Grower’s Survey Shows Serious Labor Concerns

The American Fruit Growers held its annual State of the Industry survey. Labor was a big topic in the survey, and one-third of the respondents say it’s not an issue for them, at least not yet. Growing Produce says they typically have a stable team of employees, and in 20 percent of those cases, it includes family members. For the remaining two-thirds of the survey responders, available labor is a huge challenge. A California apple grower told Growing Produce, “In California, we’re limited to a 40-hour workweek. They’re also considering reducing it to four days a week and raising the minimum wage to $15.50 an hour.” A citrus grower from Florida says it’s “virtually impossible” to find excellent farm labor. Just two in 10 survey responders currently use the H-2A program that authorizes lawful admission into the U.S. for temporary, non-immigrant workers to do agricultural labor or provide seasonal services.