Agricultural Labor in the US
Agriculture is a major industry in the United States. The produce from the United States of America farms makes it a net exporter of farm produce. The fresh farm produces in groceries around the country are a result of the produce of the United States agricultural sector. The approximate farms that are under agricultural use are 22 million that total to 922 million acres. The output of agriculture has increased over the 20th century period courtesy of mechanization. To maintain a competitive advantage in the agricultural spectra, farm owners should get cheap labor and do much with it. It is due to this that farm jobs are not paying much yet they are physically demanding. For a non-farm job that needs the same skills as those needed for a farm job, the pay is much better.
This has precipitated domestic workers to shun farm jobs. The result of this has been a shortage of labor for farms in the United States. S. Hired farmworkers in the United States lurk in the bottom of the job ladder nationwide. The median earnings of crop workers are about $9 an hour (Barth). This is significantly less than what other workers are paid in the private-sector nonfarm jobs. To make it worse, crop workers are not always committed. The compensation for farm workers has not been attractive enough to domestic workers that are unwilling to take the jobs. This has necessitated the use of foreign workers in farms. The problem is that a majority of the foreigners that work in the farms are not registered and are in the country illegally.
Most of the foreigners come from the Mexican border (Barth). Deporting of these foreign workers can be detrimental to the farm workforce of the United States. This, however, did not last. The US economy improved over time and the now legal immigrant farm workers moved to better-paying jobs that were nonfarm (Barth). In turn, they were replaced by newly arrived unauthorized workers. The border security beefing in the 1990s and the 2000s made it more difficult to cross the border. This reduced entrance of new immigrant foreigners through the border but was also a disincentive for unauthorized workers to go back to their own countries (Haspel). So far the work is still split between machines and human labor. There are advantages of using machinery for farming as well as its disadvantages.
Mechanization of labor will cause loss of jobs of about 2 million people. The only advantage that this has is a majority of the workers are illegal workers in the United States. Whether this can be used as a way to reduce immigration is not clear as many still see the United States as a nation with many opportunities. There should be a policy that protects the farm workers from exploitation that should set the lowest amount that should be paid to them. This should be done in a balanced way such that the farmers can still competitively sell their products with good margins. Immigrants play a large role in the farming sector of the United States. Stringent rules of getting into the country of immigrants will curtail the labor pool to farms in the United States.
The country should set up policies such that the bureaucracy to be followed for getting permits to work in the country is made easier. Even though the farmers in this country work a small fraction of the year as has been discussed in this paper, the reduction in the number of Mexicans and other people who would get into the United States illegally meant that the Americans would not have to compete with outsiders on the farm jobs. The possibility of immigrants bribing the border security was nullified by the hefty rates charged for people involved in illegal immigration (Devadoss & Luckstead, 2011 pg. There was a big progress in the decision to surveil worksites during the implementation of the immigration act. One major issue that had made the immigrants feel comfortable was that once they got to the working sites they would blend well with other Americans.
There was no surveillance of any to ascertain the nationalities of individuals. This also meant that the farm produce would be channeled to Mexico and other countries that had immigrants in America, at the very slightest opportunity that was available. Once security measures were tightened undocumented employees would not be put in office. This meant even the agricultural produce of the United States to the specific countries from which illegal immigrants would come, dropped by approximately 5%. The American farms these days are composed of a majority of native citizens. The immigrants available are the legal ones who have documents to certify that their presence in the country is under no circumstance illegal. However, it is important to note that these are official numbers noted for the immigrants who legally reside in America.
The number could have been some years back before the immigration department reinforced its border security to curb the undocumented entry of people from the neighboring nations (Ewing, 2018). An important feature to note about the agricultural sector in the United States is that the immigrants are a compliment to the native citizens in terms what they offer in the job market. When they participate too much on the sites doing manual working like digging and harvesting due to lack of skills, their counterparts who are natives take up the positions that involve technical know-how. This is how they complement the workforce in America thus providing more options for home citizens to explore other job opportunities (Ewing, 2018). California is a good example of the States that are usually affected by labor shortages, especially during the harvesting seasons.
This has been largely attributed to the ability of the potential illegal immigrants finding opportunities in their native countries or the effect of the immigration policies. Another major reason for the shortage is that not all the casual workers work full time. Agriculture is seasonal in the eyes of these workers and once they find an opportunity to find permanent jobs they shift their focus to such opportunities thereby leaving the farmers with few people to rely on in farming. There are several expenses the American farmers settle during the process of production of crops. For example, cereals farming cannot be compared to venturing in groceries like vegetables. It requires a lot of labor to do produce beans, for example. Geographical factors also play a crucial role in determining the cost of labor.
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