...Seasonal foreign labor, mainly from Mexico, always harvests Brim's crops, but this spring, he could be 200 workers short. The coronavirus crisis has delayed the U.S. government's processing of their work visas.
Brim is facing a series of harvest deadlines. The first one is April 15 for squash. May 1, it's cucumbers, and he better have his pickers in place, he said."When we start harvesting squash, we've got just days to pick it," Brim said. "So if our workers don't show up here on time, then we're gonna be in trouble." Jeremy White is in bigger trouble. His blueberry crop is days away from harvest. He needs 100 pickers and packers, but they're stuck in Guatemala, where the borders are sealed because of the virus. "We need 'em now. Absolutely, we need 'em now," White said. "As you can see, this fruit's turning blue and it's not waiting on anybody."More than $1 million worth of blueberries could rot in the fields, he said, and he has no plan B."Domestic labor just don't want to do this kind of work. It's unfortunate to say, but they just don't want to get out and do hard field labor anymore," White said.
Without foreign labor and with the border shut down, farmers are having a very difficult time harvesting their crops. Losses will be enormous and time is short. Ironic that an administration that came to power vilifying and villainizing latino immigrants as rapists and criminals now needs them if they want an adequate supply of food in this country. Couldn't make this stuff up.