In the seventeen years I’ve been living here in Capay Valley, I have never seen signs like these. On my drives to town this summer, I’ve noticed there are several hiring signs posted. lFarm labor shortage is a real thing, and it’s hitting close to home for all of us.
Capay Organic- Farm Fresh To You posted this large sign earlier this summer.
Down the road, closer to Winters, Sunsweet also has jobs available.
Ten years ago, field workers would occasionally stop by the house to see if we needed any work done in our small orchard at the Gettleshtetl. That hasn’t happened in several years.
For a few years we hired a farm helper to come regularly, every other week to help with odd jobs; pruning, weeding, etc. Juan and his family moved back to Mexico, around the time of the Lake County wildfires. Since then we haven’t been able to find any help. Well, except for that short period where we tried to hire a mowing company. At $400 a month, we quickly decided to just let the grass and weeds grow tall.
You can read more about the relationships between farmers and farm employees in Why We Farm. You’ll find an excerpt on dealing with the seasonal nature of farm work, written by Judith Redmond of Full Belly Farm. And throughout the book, farmers talk about the great respect they have for the skilled people who work with them to bring their plans to fruition.
Curious I have noted it too. Perhaps there are some google statistics on the hiring practices of Amazon fulfillment centers, and all the drive your own car delivery jobs in the cities, and probably most of all the increase of cannabis production. Its hard to beat their wages, paid in cash, the hours, the housing on property, and the work environment and mind set while at work. California, Oregon, Washington, and Colorado citizens are not prepared for the Mexican/Colombia style crime that comes with unlicensed agricultural production.