Report: Ag Workforce Unstable

North Carolina Farm Bureau released its Agriculture Workforce Report revealing evidence of an unstable agriculture workforce and the urgent need to reform a broken system. A press conference was held in front of the General Assembly in Raleigh, NC, where nearly 300 NC Farm Bureau members and leaders were present in support of common-sense and workable reform in North Carolina.

“We have heard from farmers across North Carolina that one of the most pressing issues they face is the need for a more stable agriculture workforce,” said North Carolina Farm Bureau President Larry Wooten. “North Carolina Farm Bureau and our partners believe that our farmers deserve a voice in Raleigh and in Washington, and we are here today to express their concerns to their elected officials.”

More than 600 North Carolina farmers from 95 of the state’s 100 counties responded to the agriculture workforce survey, a joint effort between Farm Bureau and 18 other agriculture associations. Wooten said the report shows more than 60% of surveyed farmers have had trouble hiring qualified domestic employees, and that nearly one-third reported a loss of income in the past 5 years due to an insufficient supply of workers. Perhaps the most staggering finding was related to the federal E-Verify program: almost one in five surveyed farmers indicated they would shut down their farm if E-Verify became mandatory without a workable guest worker program in place. “We’re talking billions of dollars and tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of jobs lost from our state’s economy,” said Wooten.

Patterson Farm is a third generation family farm that grows 450 acres of fruits and vegetables. “Farmers are facing more uncertainty and instability than ever before,” said Doug Patterson, owner of Patterson Farm. “Even with the high unemployment numbers in our state, we still have trouble hiring and retaining workers.

“We cannot afford to invest in a workforce that is unreliable. We feel that if nothing is done in the next few years, we will reduce acreage or get out of the fruit and vegetable farming business altogether. North Carolina will have to decide to import our workers or import our food.”

Patterson added, “If the state passes and implements a mandatory E-verify system without a viable, affordable federal guest worker program in place, then many farmers will be forced to quit.”

Wooten went on to say that while farmers are struggling under unfavorable circumstances, he is hopeful that reform is not far off. “We have been encouraged by the recent bipartisan efforts in Congress to make meaningful, comprehensive immigration reform a top priority this session,” he said. “Our leaders cannot miss this opportunity to fix the broken immigration system in our country. It is imperative that our elected officials understand the unique needs of today’s farming and provide a workable guest worker program that allows our farmers to maximize production. Our nation deserves high-quality, affordable, and safe food and fiber, now and in the future.”

Agriculture and agribusiness is the largest industry in North Carolina, accounting for $71.6 billion of the state’s economy and nearly one out of every five jobs. The North Carolina Farm Bureau is the largest agriculture organization in the state, with more than 500,000 members.

Leave a Reply

Employees Stories

EmployeesAgriculture Jobs May Be Plentiful, But New Grads Are Scarce
November 24, 2015
Close to 60,000 jobs are set to open up in agriculture each year for the next five years, but there's not enough grads to fill them. Read More
Employee Training Employees at Silverado Ranch Supply receive monthly training that focuses on how to read labels, handle hazardous materials, document use of hazardous and other materials, and actions to take in an emergency situation. Source: Lindsay Dixon, consultant, Silverado Ranch Supply, Yerington, NV
EmployeesA New Approach To Employee Retention — Part 2
November 3, 2015
In part 1, we discussed the impact of employee turnover on an organization’s profitability, and the disconnect between employer and Read More
Prairieland FS employees
EmployeesA New Approach To Employee Retention — Part 1
October 8, 2015
Editor’s: This is part 1 of a two-part series on employee retention by Mark Waschek of Ag1Source, the largest agricultural Read More
EmployeesSyngenta First Agriculture Company To Receive Fair Labor Association Accreditation
October 8, 2015
Syngenta has announced that it has become the first agriculture company to receive accreditation from the Fair Labor Association (FLA). Read More
Top 100 Articles
Elburn Cooperative
CropLife 100Elburn Cooperative Members Vote To Join CHS
December 28, 2015
With 81% of eligible producers voting, 94% cast an affirmative ballot for Elburn Cooperative, a diversified agricultural retailer based out Read More
West Central Cooperative, Jefferson, IA
CropLife 100Farmers Cooperative-West Central Merger Approved
December 21, 2015
The members of Farmers Cooperative Co. (FC), Ames, IA, and West Central Cooperative, Ralston, IA, have both approved the merger Read More
Wheat Growers Innovation Center, Bath, SD
CropLife 100Wheat Growers Opens Innovation Center
December 21, 2015
Wheat Growers’ commitment in providing its farmer-owners with the latest in technological advancements now has a one-of-a-kind focal point, as Read More
CropLife 100ARA Selects The Andersons As 2015 Retailer Of The Year
December 9, 2015
The Agricultural Retailers Association today named Maumee, OH-based The Andersons as its Retailer of the Year for 2015. The award Read More
CPS Washington Court House John Deere Sprayer
CropLife 100Application Equipment Report: It Is Easy Being Green For Top 100 Ag Retailers
December 5, 2015
On The Muppets television show, Kermit the Frog is famous for singing a song about the troubles he encounters in Read More
Fertilizer Bin
CropLife 100Fertilizer Sales: Another Down Year For Top 100 Ag Retailers
December 4, 2015
In pure number terms, the fertilizer category still dominates all crop inputs/services among CropLife 100 ag retailers. In 2015, for Read More
Latest News
Crop InputsMarrone Bio Innovations Submits New Bio-Fungicide For E…
February 9, 2016
Marrone Bio Innovations, Inc. (MBI) today announced that it has submitted a new biological fungicide (MBI-110) to EPA. The broad spectrum Read More
Crop InputsWeed Expert: Adding A Second Herbicide Not Always Easy
February 9, 2016
In my last post, I reviewed some recent research that suggests one of the best ways to delay the evolution Read More
Crop InputsGenetic Literacy Project: Farmers Need More Herbicide C…
February 9, 2016
There are two things that I think just about every weed scientist can agree on, writes Andrew Kniss for The Read More
HerbicidesWeed Expert Warns North Dakota Growers Of Coming Herbic…
February 9, 2016
Ford Baldwin painted a bleak picture of weed control at a recent workshop here exploring the future of ag production, Read More
HerbicidesWSSA Announces New, Updated Free Web Resources
February 9, 2016
Today the Weed Science Society of American (WSSA) announced that new and updated educational materials for both weed scientists and Read More
Soybean field
FungicidesFour Arysta Fungicide Formulations Given FIFRA Approval…
February 8, 2016
Arysta LifeScience North America recently announced the issuance of Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) Section 2(ee) Recommendations for Read More
FungicidesAgri-Fos Systemic Fungicide Plus Receives EPA Registrat…
February 8, 2016
Vivid Life Sciences has announced the EPA registration of Agri-Fos Systemic Fungicide Plus, a highly concentrated active ingredient phosphite fungicide, Read More
Crop InputsBayer Contests EPA’s Decision On Valuable Insecticide F…
February 5, 2016
Crop Science, a division of Bayer, has announced it has refused a request by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to Read More
Wheat Field North Dakota
Seed/BiotechSyngenta Wins Seed Fraud Suit Against South Dakota Grow…
February 5, 2016
Syngenta has obtained a $25,000 settlement from Paul and John Mayclin, Mayclin Farms, Plankinton, SD, in response to their Plant Read More
ManagementOABA Annual Conference Wraps Up In Columbus
February 5, 2016
More than 300 Ohio AgriBusiness Association (OABA) members and industry professionals were on hand to engage in collaborative learning and Read More
Crop InputsBayer To Contest EPA Flubendiamide Decision
February 5, 2016
Crop Science, a division of Bayer, announced today it has refused a request by EPA to voluntarily cancel the uses Read More
Syngenta
Seed/BiotechNot So Fast: ChemChina Syngenta Takeover Could Draw Nat…
February 5, 2016
State-owned China National Chemical Corp. (ChemChina), which plans to buy Swiss seeds and pesticide maker Syngenta, will promptly start preparations Read More
Rendering of Syngenta Seedcare Institute expansion
Seed/BiotechExpansion Of Syngenta’s North America Seedcare In…
February 4, 2016
As demand for seed treatment knowledge and products grows among farmers, retailers and others in the seed industry, Syngenta is Read More
Soybean Field
Industry NewsArysta LifeScience Strengthens Sales Team
February 4, 2016
Arysta LifeScience North America recently announced three new personnel additions: Jake Cook and Peter White are Territory Sales Managers for Read More
Davor Pisk Syngenta COO
Crop InputsSyngenta COO: Why ChemChina Offer Beat Monsanto’s
February 4, 2016
Syngenta Chief Operating Officer Davor Pisk says he is confident the proposed acquisition by ChemChina will ultimately help preserve choice Read More
Young corn plants in soil
Crop InputsKoch Biological Solutions Invests In Pathway Biologic
February 4, 2016
An affiliate of Koch Biological Solutions, LLC has acquired a minority equity position in, and entered into collaboration with, Pathway Read More
Crop InputsABG: China Signs Off On Monsanto’s Roundup Ready …
February 3, 2016
Monsanto Co. on Wednesday announced it plans to launch its Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans in time for the 2016 Read More
Syngenta headquarters in Basel, Switzerland
Crop Inputs6 Things To Know About The ChemChina-Syngenta Deal
February 3, 2016
After months of rumors and speculation, Syngenta has announced that ChemChina has offered to acquire the Swiss-based company. “In making Read More