Crop Rot Fever, Part MLXVIII: “California Crops Rot as Immigration Crackdown Creates Farmworker Shortage”

From Fortune:

California Crops Rot as Immigration Crackdown Creates Farmworker Shortage

Chris Morris

Aug 08, 2017

Vegetable prices may be going up soon, as a shortage of migrant workers is resulting in lost crops in California.

The cost of vegetables must represent 25% or 30% of the average family’s annual income these days, so this is catastrophic news.

Farmers say they’re having trouble hiring enough people to work during harvest season, causing some crops to rot before they can be picked. Already, the situation has triggered losses of more than $13 million in two California counties alone, according to NBC News.

Thirteen … Million … Dollars!

… To make the jobs more attractive, farmers are offering salaries above minimum wage, along with paid time off and 401(k) plans, but even that’s not proving enough.

I’ve been trying to make a joke out of all the Crops Rotting in the Fields scare headlines for over a decade now, but I don’t think I’m making much progress.

I pointed out back in 2006 that you could bring back slavery and the whip and there’d still be enough crops rotting in the fields somewhere each year for the growers’ PR flacks to churn out the same press releases.

My evolutionary psychology just-so story for why this is such a perennial shtick that apparently never grows old is that agricultural peoples under Malthusian conditions must have evolved to be highly triggered by the news that some of the harvest won’t be gotten in. I bet hunter-gatherers don’t give a damn about crop rot headlines.

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