Del Bosque Farm President Speaks Out On Labor Shortage, Blames 2016 Campaign Rhetoric
CALIFORNIA — America’s fruits, nuts and vegetables are rotting and President Donald Trump’s immigrant rhetoric is partly to blame, farmer Joe L. Del Bosque says.
Last year, it was estimated that $13 million crops in California went unpicked due to a labor shortage within the farming industry, and according to Del Bosque, the shortage is deepening due to the crackdown on undocumented immigrants.
While Barack Obama’s presidency oversaw many deportations, Del Bosque noted that Obama seldom spoke about it. Whereas Trump has been very vocal, and his campaign “struck fear into their hearts,” he said.
Del Bosque first hand witnesses this labor shortage as a president of a 2,000-acre farm located on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley in California.
Known for producing organic cantaloupe, honeydew, almonds and cherries which can be found in chain stores all over the United States and in parts of Canada; his farm is largely harvested by a workforce that widely hail from outside the U.S.
“Ninety-eight percent of my laborers come from outside the United States,” he said in an interview on Brad Show Live. And “we are not getting any new workers coming in,” he said. “With local native born people not wanting to work in the field, we are largely dependent upon people from other countries.”
While the existing farming labor shortage has been connected to deportations and tightened borders, it was noticeably apparent this March when Del Bosque was looking to harvest his asparagus, he argued.
Expecting many of the same seasonal workers that come to his farm through the harvest, he said many didn’t show up, and his farm lost many crops.
After having called the seasonal workers, Del Bosque ended up having to “soothe their fears about working out in the open,” and the workers “still didn’t come until they finally felt comfortable with being out in the field,” he said.
Del Bosque was eventually able to harvest everything he needed to, but “barely had enough people,” he said.
Proposing to grant farm workers legal status, and to create a guest worker program, Del Bosque suggested those policies could potentially replenish the workforce.
“A guest worker program would fill the demand during the summer,” he contended, and help fill a void during a busy harvest season which demands an uptick of at least 300 workers on his farm alone.
To hear Del Bosque discuss how the crackdown on undocumented immigrants is impacting America’s farming industry, watch below.
To view more Brad Show Live segments, tune in Monday through Friday from 5:30 - 7:30 p.m. EST.