Nearly two-thirds of farmers who responded to a survey by the California Farm Bureau Federation say they experienced challenges finding enough employees to help tend and harvest crops in 2012. Farm Bureau has released the results of the online survey, which included responses from nearly 800 of its members about their experience during the harvest season.
"Throughout the year and across the state, we heard personal accounts from farmers who struggled to find enough people to work on their farms," says California Farm Bureau President Paul Wenger. "We wanted to find out more about the extent of the problem. Employee shortages were widespread among farmers who responded to the survey."
The voluntary survey brought responses from farm employers across the state who grow a variety of crops, including both labor-intensive crops and those that do not require significant employee inputs. Questions included whether or not farmers had seen a shortage of on-farm employees and, if so, what sorts of actions they had taken as a result.
Survey highlights included: Sixty-one percent of total respondents say they experienced worker shortages of varying degrees. Among responding farmers who grow labor-intensive crops – tree fruits, vegetables, table grapes, raisins and berries – 71 percent reported employee shortages.
To deal with workforce shortages, farmers offered higher wages, delayed pruning and harvesting, used mechanization if possible, or did not harvest some of their crop.
California Farm Bureau published this story. For more information, go to www.cfbf.com.