Online Only: E-Verify Economic Impact Study

The Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association (GFVGA) released preliminary findings from the economic impact study, which the organization commissioned to analyze production data from the spring and summer harvest. Charles Hall, GFVGA Executive Director presented the preliminary data at the 2011 United Fresh Produce Association’s Washington Public Policy Conference where produce industry leaders from across the nation are assembled to lobby for reasonable immigration reform and discuss national E-verify legislation. Hall said, “Georgia is the poster child for what can happen when mandatory e-verify and enforcement legislation is passed without an adequate guest worker program.”

The report, conducted by The University of Georgia Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development and authored by Dr. John McKissick and Sharon Kane, will be released later this week. It analyzed data from seven crops that represented over 46.4% of the acreage available for harvest this spring. The seven crops studied represented a total farm gate value of more than $ 578 million in the 2009 UGA Farm Gate Survey.

Growers that said they had experienced labor losses in the spring/summer of 2011, represented over 80% of the production acreage reported in the survey. Based on the data submitted for each of the crops, the following losses were calculated as being directly attributable to harvest or packing labor shortages,

Blueberries $ 29,015,947
Blackberries $ 4,027,125
Vidalia Onions $ 16,312,345
Bell Pepper $ 15,115,645
Squash $ 1,948,629
Cucumber $ 5,932,600
Watermelon $ 2,592,230
TOTAL $ 74,980,521

Assuming the grower responses in the study are representative of all growers of that commodity, the total loss at the farm gate attributed to labor shortage for the seven crops studied would be about $140 MILLION.

The data showed in a normal year the growers responding to the survey would need 12,930 harvesters. However, for the spring of 2011 they reported a shortage of 40.4%, needing 5,244 more harvesters to meet the 12,930 target.

The shortage of labor, and dollar losses at the farm gate, also had a tremendous impact on the local communities and the entire state of Georgia. Hall reported that multi-county and state models of all the business and interactions of consumers and business was formulated by the researchers to estimate the impacts of the reported losses on the local communities and the state as a whole. Calculated on an annual basis, the Spring 2011 berry and vegetable production resulted in an additional $106.5 million dollar lost in other goods and services in Georgia’s economy putting the combined impact at about $181.5 million dollars. Assuming the grower responses in the study are representative of all growers for the seven crops analyzed, the total yearly economic impact would be approximately $391 million dollars and the job loss would be about 3,260 on a statewide basis.

Looking forward to the next crop year, growers were asked ‘Based on your labor situation, what are your plans for 2012?’ For the berry crops, 55% of the respondents answered the question. Due to the significant investment growers have in the orchards and vineyards 65% said they would maintain the current acreage. Many blueberry growers reported while maintaining their current acreage they would be turning to mechanically harvesting more acres than in the past. A few growers said they would increase acreage, while 20% plan to decrease their harvested acreage.

For the vegetables growers, 72% of the respondents answered the question as to their plans in 2012. 53% of the growers said they would be decreasing their acreage in 2012 -some by as much as 100%. Most growers reported decreasing their acreage in the 25% to 50%. 45% of the growers said they would maintain their current acreage for 2012 while only 2% said they would be increasing their acreage.

During his remarks, Hall stated that most of the ‘mandatory e-verify’ legislation is promoted as a jobs creation bill. While this may be true for some industry sectors, it does not create jobs in agriculture. According to the study, there were 5,244 thousand seasonal harvester jobs that were vacant during the 2011 harvest season. This is equivalent to 572 full time jobs. The total impact in job loss was estimated to be about 1282 fewer full time equivalent jobs in Georgia due to the output producers lost in the spring of 2011 due to the labor situation.

Hall said, “Field harvest work is skilled labor. Anyone that has tried to pick blueberries, or cucumbers, or watermelons knows you have to have to have experience, plus be in top physical condition.” He cited these jobs are in the hot sun, eight to 10 hours a day, and requires lifting, bending, stooping. It is not something that the average citizen can do. For agriculture, E-verify is not a job creating bill – it is job loss legislation.

Organizations assisting the Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association with the study included Georgia Farm Bureau, Georgia Peach Council, Georgia Watermelon Association, Georgia Commodity Commission for Blueberries, Georgia Blueberry Growers Association, Georgia Commodity Commission for Vegetables, and the Vidalia Onion Business Council.

Source: GFVGA

Leave a Reply

Featured Stories

CucurbitsFight Phytophthora Blight Of Cucurbits
October 25, 2014
Learn how to identify, the survival and spread, as well as management methods for this disease. Read More
Varieties & RootstocksPlaying The Citrus Rootstock Market Has Risks And Rewards
October 24, 2014
Experimental material forcing producers to roll the dice. Read More
GrapesNorthern Grapes Project Receives $2.6 Million USDA Grant
October 24, 2014
Funds will help complete final two years of multistate effort. Read More
VegetablesEnza Zaden Field Day Highlights 25 Vegetable Varieties [Slideshow]
October 24, 2014
Seed breeder Enza Zaden hosted its 2014 variety showcase September 25th at the company’s research station in San Juan Bautista, California, with 250 Read More
Disease ControlWashington Concord Grape Growers Wrestle With Blackleaf
October 23, 2014
Physiological disorder manifested due to unusually hot and sunny summer. Read More
More Vegetables7 Green Bean Varieties Geared For Florida Growers
October 23, 2014
Leading vegetable seed companies highlight several high-performance selections for producers in the Sunshine State. Read More
MarketingTomato Survey Tracks Consumer Trends
October 23, 2014
Results indicate how labeling matters in purchasing decisions. Read More
CitrusFlorida Citrus Growers Get Box Tax Relief
October 23, 2014
Citrus Commission votes to put dollars back in producers’ hands to spur reinvestment. Read More
Farm ManagementBill Gates Uploading Lots Of Florida Farmland
October 22, 2014
Recent acquisition for the Microsoft icon involves more than 4,500 acres for nearly $28 million. Read More
GenNext GrowersRegister Now For The GenNext Growers Webcast
October 22, 2014
In the first installment of the GenNext Webcast Series, you will learn how to engage with lawmakers and ag associations to help shape a better future for your business and for agriculture. Read More

The Latest

CucurbitsFight Phytophthora Blight Of Cucurbits
October 25, 2014
Learn how to identify, the survival and spread, as well as management methods for this disease. Read More
Varieties & RootstocksPlaying The Citrus Rootstock Market Has Risks And Rewar…
October 24, 2014
Experimental material forcing producers to roll the dice. Read More
GrapesNorthern Grapes Project Receives $2.6 Million USDA Gran…
October 24, 2014
Funds will help complete final two years of multistate effort. Read More
VegetablesEnza Zaden Field Day Highlights 25 Vegetable Varieties …
October 24, 2014
Seed breeder Enza Zaden hosted its 2014 variety showcase September 25th at the company’s research station in San Juan Bautista, California, with 250 Read More
Disease ControlWashington Concord Grape Growers Wrestle With Blackleaf
October 23, 2014
Physiological disorder manifested due to unusually hot and sunny summer. Read More
More Vegetables7 Green Bean Varieties Geared For Florida Growers
October 23, 2014
Leading vegetable seed companies highlight several high-performance selections for producers in the Sunshine State. Read More
MarketingTomato Survey Tracks Consumer Trends
October 23, 2014
Results indicate how labeling matters in purchasing decisions. Read More
CitrusFlorida Citrus Growers Get Box Tax Relief
October 23, 2014
Citrus Commission votes to put dollars back in producers’ hands to spur reinvestment. Read More
Farm ManagementBill Gates Uploading Lots Of Florida Farmland
October 22, 2014
Recent acquisition for the Microsoft icon involves more than 4,500 acres for nearly $28 million. Read More
GenNext GrowersRegister Now For The GenNext Growers Webcast
October 22, 2014
In the first installment of the GenNext Webcast Series, you will learn how to engage with lawmakers and ag associations to help shape a better future for your business and for agriculture. Read More
FruitsAnnual Santa Maria Strawberry Meeting Approaching
October 22, 2014
The meeting will focus on IPM practices, weed management, updates on fumigation, and more. Read More
Apples & PearsUSApple’s AppletizeMe Personality Quiz Help Consumers…
October 22, 2014
Award-winning national apple month campaign returns with more featured varieties and informative videos. Read More
Farm ManagementUSDA Awards $18 Million To Stimulate Research And Devel…
October 22, 2014
The grants will provide resources to help small operations create breakthroughs, says USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack. Read More
CitrusEPA Launches Program To Reduce Pesticide Drift
October 22, 2014
The voluntary star-rating program aims to protect people, wildlife and the environment. Read More
CitrusMcCrometer Introduces New Ag Management Mobile App
October 22, 2014
The app displays data on weather, ET, soil moisture, water flow, and more. Read More
Apples & PearsNew York Apple Growers Partner With Grocer To Introduce…
October 22, 2014
First apples of this new variety to hit Wegmans stores as part of a marketing effort. Read More
CitrusAgriculture, Interior Departments Partner To Measure Co…
October 22, 2014
Goal is to provide science-based information for watershed wellness. Read More
Stone FruitIntroducing A Gem Of A Peach For Central Florida
October 22, 2014
The newest variety to come from the UF Stone Fruit Breeding Program is another “gem,” UFGem! This peach variety is Read More