Labor Shortage Leaves $13 Million in Crops to Rot in Fields

Labor Shortage Leaves $13 Million in Crops to Rot in Fields

Labor Shortage Leaves $13 Million in Crops to Rot in Fields
(© Flickr Creative Commons Jason Johnson)

Last year marked the fifth consecutive year Santa Barbara County’s agriculture industry has struggled with labor shortages, which have ranged from 15 to 26 percent. Farmers, therefore, must leave crops to rot in the fields. An estimated $13 million of strawberries, broccoli, leafy greens, and other unharvested produce were plowed under last year, up from five years ago when losses amounted to an estimated $4.4 million, according to the region’s Grower-Shipper Association.

Central Coast growers do not receive government subsidies for mowing unpicked berries and veggies as Midwestern farmers do for destroying wheat or barley. Some area growers have insurance for losses from heat waves or pests but not for lack of workforce.

Source: Labor Shortage Leaves $13 Million in Crops to Rot in Fields

Labor Shortage Leaves $13 Million in Crops to Rot in Fields

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