Labor issue for peach grower, consumers

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Fresh peaches are one of the most delicious things about summer. In a new video produced by the American Farm Bureau Federation, South Carolina peach farmer Chalmers Carr explains that without the foreign workers he needs to pick his crop, those peaches would never make it to the grocery store. As the video points out, consumers who enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables have much at stake in ensuring the availability of America’s agriculture workforce. Carr said that without needed improvements to the agriculture labor program that would come as part of immigration reform, a lot of fresh produce would have a tough time making it to local grocery stores. “Labor is our No.1 input expense by far,” Carr said. “Forty percent of our cost of production is labor and without labor we could not harvest this crop. You cannot thin, harvest, pack peaches without manually having hands. There’s no machinery that can do this.” The Senate immigration reform bill would improve the current system, called the H2-A program, so it works better for farmers and the workers. Carr said those improvements are desperately needed.


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