Carolina Growers Fear Labor Shortage

The number of Mexican farmworkers that traditionally report to work the fields in North Carolina usually numbers in the thousands, but area growers fear there won’t be as many this year, according to the Spring Hope Enterprise.

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“We’re already behind because of the flu,” area farmer Lonnie Johnson told the paper. “Mexico isn’t letting them out of the country and we need those workers now.”

Due to the H1N1 (swine) flu outbreak, the Mexican government has delayed processing work visas, leaving thousands of migrant workers stranded in their home country.

“We wanted to have our sweet potatoes in the ground by now,” Johnson said. “but we’ve only got five people here and we usually have somewhere around 30. This is really hurting us. We really can’t afford too much of a delay.”

Read more here.