California agriculture growers facing worker shortages

It's getting harder for growers in California to recruit farmworkers and that's leading to rising wages. According to the Los Angeles Times, some growers are paying up to $16-per hour with benefits like paid sick days and vacation time. That's a better deal than California's $10.50 an hour minimum wage. 

Between an aging population, a stronger economy in Mexico and fewer people willing to work in the fields, growers are having a hard time finding experienced fieldworkers who are willing to do the grueling work of harvesting California's crops. 

There's also the specter of President Donald Trump's recent executive orders on immigration and calls for a wall. That's discouraged Mexican guestworkers from crossing the border who used to come to California to find work. With Mexico's economy improving, better jobs are available for those who decide to remain behind. 

Despite the better pay and benefits, native-born Americans still aren't tempted to pick up the slack. According to a report issued by the Department of Labor statistics, fewer than 2% of farm labor jobs were filled by US workers. 

Without anyone to pick the crops, some growers are dealing with the labor shortage by increasing automation, downsizing their farms, or moving to less labor intensive crops. 

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