July 10, 2006


Missing migrants put area farms in tight spot (Sophie Swecker, Jul 08, 2006, The Daily News)

A third of Jerry Dobbins' 155-acre strawberry crop rotted on the vine this year. His blueberry bushes are so heavy with fruit that the branches are hanging near the ground.

There is no one to pick them.

Dobbins Farm in Woodland is one of many farms across the state facing a huge labor shortage this growing season, as tighter security along the U.S.-Mexico border has crimped the supply of Latino migrant farm workers.

The strawberry harvest, one of the hardest fruits to pick because of it's low proximity to the ground, has already come and gone at Dobbins' farm, the largest of its kind in Southwest Washington. Now Dobbins is worried that his other crops will suffer a similar fate.

"We won't pay any of the bills on our strawberry crop this year," Dobbins said.

The labor problem is not unique to this region, either.

Production at the Bell Buoy Crab Co. in Chinook is down 50 percent since Immigration and Custom Enforcement raids in April, according to the Washington State Farm Bureau.

Growers across the state are feeling the void left by the worker shortage, said Dean Boyer, spokesman for the Farm Bureau.

"This is a rolling problem. As various harvests come, farmers are going to feel the effects," Boyer said.

Were you expecting the Minutemen to pick them?

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 10, 2006 6:44 AM

Why worry? Nothing costs more than it used to, so we can still have cheap blueberries and strawberries even if some of them are left in the fields.

Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at July 10, 2006 10:24 AM

Indeed, we can buy them from Latin America.

Posted by: oj at July 10, 2006 10:51 AM

Orrin's fave NRO writer and illegal immigrant, John Derbyshire, is back with his 23,981st post on the evils of Mexicans. At one point he says Mexico is "deeply non-creative." Uh, right. We're better off with Brit illegals who give us deeply creative blogs.

Anyway, he finally gets to his real objection at the end of a long list: race. Derbyshire would just save time if he would state the obvious: "I'm a racist and that's why I don't like Hispanics. I'm John Derbyshire, and I approve this message."

Posted by: Casey Abell at July 10, 2006 12:22 PM

"...the food must rot, must be forced to rot." --- John Steinbeck

Posted by: Joseph Hertzlinger at July 10, 2006 12:26 PM

I expect American innovation and economics to take care of this.

Let's get some high schools involved with big award money.

Even better, prisoners.

Posted by: Sandy P at July 10, 2006 2:22 PM

Sandy P.: Indeed. If one only listened to OJ, you'd think all Americans were on the verge of starvation until the huge increase in illegal immigration in the last few decades.

Posted by: PapayaSF at July 10, 2006 4:12 PM

How doyou think we won the War on Poverty? we've made food so cheap we burn it for fuel.

Posted by: oj at July 10, 2006 4:18 PM

Are we allowed to point out merely that the farmers the article is crying over are unable to sell their produce at the prices set by the market in the absence of illigal immigrant labor?

This seems pretty basic. If a pint of berries costs $2.00 when picked by undocumented aliens, or whatever we are allowed to call them, and $4.00 when picked by legal residents, but consumers will not buy them at $4.00, then the problem is simply economic.

As much as I would like to see more gun-loving Roman Catholics in our country, I suggest that clarity of thought and speech has value.

Posted by: Lou Gots at July 10, 2006 4:33 PM

There is no value to keeping hard-working Christians out of the country.

Posted by: oj at July 10, 2006 4:37 PM

And how do you know they're all hard-working Christians unless you do some screening? And how do you do screening unless the immigration is legal?

Posted by: PapayaSF at July 10, 2006 5:48 PM

Isn't the market price the price set in the absence of the government propping up the price by restraint of trade?

Posted by: Joseph Hertzlinger at July 10, 2006 5:59 PM


Yes, it should be unlimited and legal.

Posted by: oj at July 10, 2006 6:38 PM