6/6 – ajc.com – Agribusiness survey: Nearly half say Georgia has a labor shortage | Political Insider

Agribusiness survey: Nearly half say Georgia has a labor shortage | Political Insider.

A survey of farmers by the state Department of Agriculture, to gauge the impact of Georgia’s new illegal immigration bill on the summer labor supply, is due out by Friday.

But the Georgia Agribusiness Council has released its own survey this afternoon – of 132 farmers and related business operators from at least 61 counties, many in metro Atlanta.

Read the complete results here. But in brief:

– 46 percent said they were currently experiencing a labor shortage.

– 24 percent said they had an adequate number of workers.

The survey comments were the most interesting. One batch:

– Many Hispanics are telling us they will leave the state prior to July 1. Some have left

– Georgia residents do not want to do the hard physical labor required in my business.

– Employees quit last week to move to Florida because of the new law.

– I tried to hire more workers, but they lived too far from the work area. Tried out a new worker, but he didn’t last past 2:00 p.m.

– Today I needed 20 pickers and got 10.

And these:

– Local people show no interest in the types of jobs that we need filled and the few who do apply last only a couple days before quitting or possess the work ethic to make it through the season.

– Agriculture desperately needs a workable labor solution–perhaps a user-friendly guest worker program.

– I do understand the need for reform, but this sudden aggressive approach has many far reaching repercussions. Not only to my workforce, but to the local economy.

– I know some of this problem lies more with the federal government, but with the new laws, even my legal Hispanic workers don’t want to stay in our state for fear of being harassed! During exit interviews they stated that they were moving to South Carolina or North Carolina.

– The labor pool has dried up because Hispanic are leaving Georgia as fast as they can. They are terrified about what will happen when this law goes into effect. Since we cannot find immigrant labor, we are trying to hire non-immigrant labor. Even with pay rates above $10 an hour, we cannot find people interested in working outdoors, in the heat. They will stay for one or two days and then leave. Our work is labor intensive, so we are losing money every day by not having dependable, hard-working laborers. This is just another blow to our business on top of what we have already lost due to the economy.

– I have a 9-year employee moving to Texas in 3 weeks because he is afraid that HB 87 will affect his family. His wife is not documented, and they are fearful of increased profiling. My company is losing its most valuable install foreman as a direct result of this bill.

– We sell to farmers that cannot hire enough part time labor for harvest which directly affects them and, in turn, affects our business with them.

– By Jim Galloway, Political Insider


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