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
Biocontrols 2015 Conference
CitrusGrowers Go In-Depth At Biocontrols 2015 Conference & Tradeshow
March 9, 2015
The first-of-its-kind event brought growers, researchers, regulators, and suppliers together for a two-day discussion on the latest biocontrols tools and technologies. Read More
Crop ProtectionAt Paramount Farming, Mating Disruption Pays Off
February 10, 2015
To say Brad Higbee is an expert in mating disruption, the use of pheromones to confuse target pests and reduce Read More
Crop ProtectionGrower Experienced In Biocontrols Says: Be Patient
February 4, 2015
The use of biocontrols in all aspects of agriculture is becoming more widespread. But incorporating biocontrols in a vegetable farming Read More
FruitsSounding Off On GMOs: The Arctic Apple Decision
March 27, 2015
Industry leaders share their feelings on the recently approved genetically modified apples. Read More
BerriesBuilding A Better Black Raspberry
March 27, 2015
Studies focusing on consumer preference, aphid resistance, heat tolerance, and genetics aim to capitalize on an expanding market. Read More
CitrusMore California Citrus Placed Under Psyllid Quarantine
March 27, 2015
Asian citrus psyllid is found in Madera County – the heart of the San Joaquin Valley. Read More
FruitsAhead Of The Curve, Part 2
March 27, 2015
Get educated with great resources in the tree fruit industry available at your fingertips. Read More
Apples & PearsMeet USApple’s Class of 2015 Young Apple Leaders
March 27, 2015
Young decision-makers see trip as an opportunity make sure the voice of the apple industry is heard by representatives. Read More
GrapesGlassy-Winged Sharpshooter Found In Marin County
March 26, 2015
This pest, known to spread Pierce’s Disease, could devastate California winegrapes. Read More
GrapesFirst Raisin Grape That Dries Naturally On Vine Developed
March 26, 2015
The new Sunpreme variety eliminates the need for growers to cut into woody canes before harvest. Read More
Fresh From Florida Strawberry Parfait recipe
BerriesNew Partnership Sends Florida Strawberries To Puerto Rico
March 26, 2015
Latest addition extends Sunshine State’s agricultural export reach in the Caribbean. Read More
drought management; irrigation; water management
FruitsHow To Become A Soil Sleuth
March 26, 2015
To correctly apply the proper nutrients at the right rates, you need to know where your fields are deficient and how to correctly diagnose a disorder. Read More
NutsWhy You Should Use Low-Rate Applications Of Potassium
March 26, 2015
These rates provide growers a low-cost method comparable to conventional applications. Read More
The Latest
FruitsSounding Off On GMOs: The Arctic Apple Decision
March 27, 2015
Industry leaders share their feelings on the recently approved genetically modified apples. Read More
BerriesBuilding A Better Black Raspberry
March 27, 2015
Studies focusing on consumer preference, aphid resistance, heat tolerance, and genetics aim to capitalize on an expanding market. Read More
CitrusMore California Citrus Placed Under Psyllid Quarantine
March 27, 2015
Asian citrus psyllid is found in Madera County – the heart of the San Joaquin Valley. Read More
FruitsAhead Of The Curve, Part 2
March 27, 2015
Get educated with great resources in the tree fruit industry available at your fingertips. Read More
Apples & PearsMeet USApple’s Class of 2015 Young Apple Leaders
March 27, 2015
Young decision-makers see trip as an opportunity make sure the voice of the apple industry is heard by representatives. Read More
GrapesGlassy-Winged Sharpshooter Found In Marin County
March 26, 2015
This pest, known to spread Pierce’s Disease, could devastate California winegrapes. Read More
GrapesFirst Raisin Grape That Dries Naturally On Vine Develop…
March 26, 2015
The new Sunpreme variety eliminates the need for growers to cut into woody canes before harvest. Read More
Fresh From Florida Strawberry Parfait recipe
BerriesNew Partnership Sends Florida Strawberries To Puerto Ri…
March 26, 2015
Latest addition extends Sunshine State’s agricultural export reach in the Caribbean. Read More
drought management; irrigation; water management
FruitsHow To Become A Soil Sleuth
March 26, 2015
To correctly apply the proper nutrients at the right rates, you need to know where your fields are deficient and how to correctly diagnose a disorder. Read More
NutsWhy You Should Use Low-Rate Applications Of Potassium
March 26, 2015
These rates provide growers a low-cost method comparable to conventional applications. Read More
Cold ProtectionWind Machine, Electric Pruners Donated To MSU Research …
March 25, 2015
New equipment to help protect research blocks from frost damage and provide center with latest technology. Read More
CitrusProposed Farm Bill Provision To Limit Payments To Non-F…
March 25, 2015
USDA has proposed a new rule which would limit payment to those who are only actively engaged in farming. Read More
Pennsylvania hard cider guild logo
Apples & PearsPennsylvania Hard Cider Producers Founded Independent T…
March 25, 2015
The Pennsylvania Cider Guild is designed to help promote and educate members and consumers. Read More
FruitsHow To Get Started With Partnerships And Sponsorships
March 25, 2015
Mark Saunders of Saunders Farm says your business is never too small or too big to get more value for what you do on your farm. Read More
FruitsValue Through Partnerships And Sponsorships [Opinion]
March 25, 2015
Mark Saunders of Saunders Farms says admission is one way to get value for what you do, but sponsorships and partnerships are the next level. Read More
chateau hough urban vineyard Cleveland Ohio
GrapesFrom Riots To Vineyard — A Story of Urban Revival
March 25, 2015
Ex-convict’s inner-city vineyard in the Hough neighborhood in Cleveland an opportunity for those leaving incarceration for a bright future in viticulture. Read More
FruitsWorld Ag Expo 2015: New Tools For Fruit Growers
March 24, 2015
From wind machines to solar-powered pumps, here is some of the new equipment on display this year's edition of the nation's largest farm show. Read More
Apples & PearsNeedles Found In Honeycrisp Sold At Grocery Store
March 24, 2015
Apples were believed to be tampered with; initial surveillance footage was inconclusive. Read More