Despite raising wages and increasing benefits, California farmers are failing to find enough people to pick fruits and vegetables and harvest other crops, and they are offsetting this labor shortage by changing to less labor-intensive crops and adding automation.
"The farm labor supply is declining, and farmers are responding by changing their production practices,” said the study’s co-author, Zachariah Rutledge, a doctoral student in the UC Davis Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics. “These results are important because they show how big of a problem this is for California farmers, and they suggest that the problem is not going to go away in the near future.”
The survey, “Still Searching for Solutions: Adapting to Farm Worker Scarcity Survey 2019,” was co-authored by J. Edward Taylor, professor and vice chair in the same department and affiliate faculty of the UC Davis Center for Poverty Research. This is part of a larger look at the dwindling farm-labor supply conducted by UC Davis researchers.
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