Cita works to fix farm worker shortage

Cita works to fix farm worker shortage

Posted:

Yuma, AZ- "When I was down here last year I met a farmer who went bankrupt because he couldn't get labor," said Howard G Buffett an American philanthropist and farmer.

There's a shortage of farm workers in the Desert Southwest and a local organization is trying to fix the problem.

Last year an estimated $3 billion worth of produce went unpicked nationwide because there wasn't adequate labor. The American Farm Bureau estimates if we continue on this trend an estimated $9 billion worth could be wasted in 2013.

CITA held their open house and unavailing of their bi-national recruitment plan Saturday. Buffett was just one of the many speakers.

Janine Duron the Executive Director of CITA says their new plan will bring in migrant workers to stop this shortage.

"It's crucial because the crops are perishable and the employers need to have a responsible available work force. A whole field could be lost because of a lack of labor," said Duron.

Duron says their program will primarily bring guest workers from Mexico.

Cita says some of the reasons farmers are short on workers is because of the aging pool of farm workers, a younger generation with different aspirations, a politically unfriendly climate for undocumented immigrants and some people opting for the relative comfort of year-round unemployment versus tough seasonal work.

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