For generations, rural Mexico has been the primary source of hired farm labor in the U.S.
The Sacramento Bee reports that according to a federal survey, nine out of 10 agricultural workers in places like California are foreign-born, and more than half are in the U.S. illegally.
But farm labor from Mexico has been declining in California. Many in the agricultural industry worry that deportations – and the fear of them – could further cut the supply of workers.
But try as they have to entice workers with better salaries and benefits, companies have found it impossible to attract enough U.S.-born workers to make up for a shortage from south of the border.
American born workers can’t handle the work. Most don’t last long. They show up for three or four days and turn around and leave.
The number of farmworkers coming out of rural Mexico is decreasing by an estimated 150,000 a year. That means U.S. and Mexican farmers will have to increasingly compete for a dwindling pool of labor.