Immigration Law Causes Labor Shortage for Georgia Farmers

By: Bethany Gillis Email
By: Bethany Gillis Email

House bill 87 requires employers in Georgia to prove legal status for ten or more employees. The law has created a severe labor shortage and is already costing millions.

"it has impacted us, we do grow some vegetables here and we're having some problems harvesting them,” agriculture extension agent Brian Cresswell said. “It’s one of those situations where if they can't get them in a timely manner, they just lost that revenue period,” he said.

Finding legal workers for farmers is difficult because of the low pay and lack of benefits.

"Labor is always a challenge in agriculture, so has it accentuated and it’s bringing a lot of attention to it.'

The negative consequences of the new bill have taken state officials by surprise, but Georgia's agriculture commissioner seems optimistic

My hope is when we conduct this study that uh that maybe there are two or three solutions that nobody's ever dreamt of. Maybe somebody will say hey if we just do this that it might find a solution for the producers.

Ag Extension Agent Brian Creswell says he knows a farmer who's crop will be taking a major hit this year, but is also confident in the future.

"I think we will get this worked out, but i don't think they thought the ramifications would be nearly as big as they are,” Cresswell said.

Two-hundred and thirty farmers responded to questionnaires sent out by the agriculture commission. The survey showed the farming industry is more than eleven-thousand workers short.

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  • by Anonymous Location: SA Texas on Jul 1, 2011 at 04:45 PM
    Now, I haven't read the legislation, but is there no loophole that would allow as many 'independent contractors' with gangs of less than 10 workers? In other words, the actual verification is put on the subcontractors and not the farmers?
  • by arch Location: bear, de on Jun 28, 2011 at 06:33 PM
    Another great idea from the GOP screws thing up and makes matters worse. The jokes on the farmers of Georgia - they got what they voted for!!!
  • by snowman on Jun 27, 2011 at 10:40 AM
    Well if they want to work, why not got to the border pick up the workers. and they stay on the farm until the crop is picked. If they do any wrong the farmer is lible. No families with them and if they leave the farm before the crop is in they can never come back. And pay the taxes like we do. This is going on in North Carolina now. They work and they go home.
    • reply
      by Jose, on Jun 27, 2011 at 01:33 PM in reply to snowman
      it sounds, so cruel,, ""come help me then go to hell""
      • reply
        by Anonymous on Jun 27, 2011 at 05:18 PM in reply to Jose,
        Im with you let the americans do the work c if they can!! I dont think they can jose!!
  • by kathy Location: hartford on Jun 26, 2011 at 08:21 PM
    well I guess we all in a pickle here now , arent we ??? and yes I am an Immigrant , ( legal ) tyvm ... here you have people that are willing to do back breaking jobs ( that none of the americans wonna touch ) they work for under minimum pay .. yes I can see american doing that now ... and heck there are no benefits to boost ... You have families here , willing to work , trying to give their kids a better life , a safer life , and thats not ok ,,, but now farmers are hurting . like they dont have enough to worry about.... so why not help get them immigrants to get legal ??? help get them their papers together , as farm workers ??? and most of all , why cant they get payed what they are worth ???? so they would not need goverment help , food stamps and all them things ??? why not try to find a middle way , that would suit all ??? would that not be the smartest thing to do ???
  • by Paul Location: Bonifay on Jun 26, 2011 at 04:51 AM
    The problem is that the all mighty farmer is greedy as HELL!!! They want to pay no money and then go to the coffee shop and brag about their new $400,000.00 tractor!!!! Let them pay for their help. They shoul half to provide benefits, just like every other business. And they should pay huge fines and even go to jail if they hire is against the law, isn't it? I wish I could afford just 1 tractor some day......
    • reply
      by Jose on Jun 27, 2011 at 01:42 PM in reply to Paul
      well if u were farmer u will know, that the tractor and a lot of more equipment is not ours, is a goverment help. and at soon as we cant found the ppl u will start paying 2 dollars per tomatoe and maybe 3 per onion, so,, i wish ppl investigate before talk,
      • reply
        by Paul on Jun 27, 2011 at 03:05 PM in reply to Jose
        In that case everything is fine.....BS!!! You are still too cheap to pay a decent wage and still brag about your equipment....I see it almost everyday!!!! The government should not be giving you that stuff anyways....Go out and buy iy yourself!!!! BTW, I know of one farmer in Enterprise that bout their help a $65,000 truck to use and they have tore it up in a year....did my tax dollars pay for that too????? Get a life and pay an AMERICAN a fair wage for once....
  • by sendillegalshomenow on Jun 25, 2011 at 01:03 PM
    All farmers should be arrested and put in prison for what they have done to the legal american farm help.They have cheated them out of money for years.Why should legal americans have to work for minimum wage,oh yea the farmer says he has to or he will hire illegals.Well let the farmer go out of buisness or let him and his wife get out there and pick cucumbers
    • reply
      by Lily The mexican on Jun 25, 2011 at 03:38 PM in reply to sendillegalshomenow
      Haha complaining like many other legal americans!! Your complaining cause your not willing to for little money huh? Yeah sould have known haha!
      • reply
        by sendillegalshomenow on Jun 26, 2011 at 04:28 AM in reply to Lily The mexican
        wooow,I have a illegal mexican telling me I should work for the same low wage as you,hey I am legal and deserve legal american wages
        • reply
          by Lily the mexican on Jun 27, 2011 at 10:29 AM in reply to sendillegalshomenow
          Im sorry to tel you but im a us citizen i was born in mexico but fixed my staus soo dont oot ur own horn!! Yeah n u know you couldnt work like us hahaha so funny AMERICAN WAGES! Please you couldnt do it!!
        • reply
          by Anonymous on Jun 27, 2011 at 08:59 PM in reply to sendillegalshomenow
          dont matter if u have good money,, this is just something Whites CAN'T do it, is to hard for you
      • reply
        by Bunny on Jun 28, 2011 at 09:27 AM in reply to Lily The mexican
        Wow, "anonymous" you sound very ignorant and racist! Some of us "whites" DO work VERY hard! I know I could easily work in the fields, I had to help my mom when I was little, and could do it now. But, dad gum it, if I'm going to work, I'm going to be paid minimum wage because I have to PAY taxes.
  • by Bunny Location: Dothan on Jun 25, 2011 at 12:59 PM
    Make some teenagers do it. LOL This generation needs to learn how to work hard.
  • by Lily " the mexican" Location: Dothan on Jun 24, 2011 at 11:02 AM
    There you go americans ya wanna say we illegals are taking your jobs? Go ahead go work in the sun jaja i would love to c that happen!!
  • by Frank Bowers, FIC, 100% DAV Location: Austin, TX on Jun 24, 2011 at 05:09 AM
    I reckon if we could require all the men to have a vasectomy we might be able to handle the men and not allow them to have women and kids. The women and kids are the truly cost of them being here. Next not allow them to send their earning home make them keep it here for our infrastructure. Frank Bowers, FIC, 100% DAV Austin, TX 78734
  • by Jose Location: Al on Jun 23, 2011 at 07:47 PM
    I guess this is the kind of jobs Immigrants stoll from americans, so, americans go get it....
    • reply
      by kathy on Jun 26, 2011 at 08:22 PM in reply to Jose
      you know that wont be happening .......
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