Christopher Ranch, which grows garlic on 5,000 acres in Gilroy, Calif., announced recently that it would hike pay for farmworkers from $11 an hour to $13 hour this year, or 18%, and then to $15 in 2018. At the end of last year, the farm was short 50 workers needed to help peel, package and roast garlic. Within two weeks of upping wages in January, applications flooded in. Now the company has a wait-list 150 people long.Wow, could it be that something as simple as raising wages could solve a labor shortage? Who could imagine such a thing?
“I knew it would help a little bit, but I had no idea that it would solve our labor problem,” Christopher said. He said the farm has been trying, without success, to draw new workers since 2014. Human resources frantically advertised open farm-labor positions, posting help-wanted ads online and urging employees to ply their networks for potential recruits. Nothing came of it.
But then the LA Times is also reporting that some California farmers are surprised that Trump is actually trying to limit immigration, which they are worried will keep them from being able to hire enough workers at harvest. Kevin Drum:
Trump literally spent his entire campaign making immigration his first priority and trade his second. But all these conservative farmers in the San Joaquin Valley voted for him anyway because, you know, he was going to lower their taxes and Make America Great Again. Now they're shocked that his top priorities are...immigration and trade.
I'm beginning to think that maybe California's farmers aren't too bright.