A publication of AAEA

A publication of AAEA
Immigration and Agriculture

Immigration and Agriculture

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Tom Hertz and Philip Martin, Guest Editors

Theme Overview: Immigration and Agriculture

Tom Hertz and Philip Martin

The four papers in this themed issue deal with the effects of immigration and immigration policy on the agricultural and food processing industries, and on rural communities, illustrating the direct and more subtle implications of current immigration policy and the uncertainty of any changes that may emerge in the future.

The Status of Labor-saving Mechanization in U.S. Fruit and Vegetable Harvesting

Wallace E. Huffman

This article provides a description of important steps in the mechanization of U.S. fruit and vegetable harvesting. Significant advances have been made for processed produce but fresh produce remains largely hand harvested to ensure final product quality that is acceptable to consumers.

Hired Farm Workers

Philip Martin

An estimated 2.4 million unique individuals fill 1.2 million full-time-equivalent positions as hired workers on U.S. farms. This paper describes the hired farm workforce and reports trends in their age, country of origin, legal status, and wages. Recent proposals relating to the H-2A temporary agricultural worker program are discussed.

Immigration and Meatpacking in the Midwest

Georgeanne M. Artz

An analysis of how growth in the meat packing industry impacted rural communities in the 1990s finds significant demographic changes associated with an influx of immigrant labor employed at meatpacking plants. More modest impacts of the industry on a variety of other economic and social measures are also discussed.

Analyzing the Effects of Immigration Reforms on Agriculture

Steven Zahniser, Tom Hertz, Peter Dixon, and Maureen Rimmer

This article considers the potential impacts on U.S. agriculture and hired farm labor of two immigration policy scenarios: (1) increased availability of temporary nonimmigrant farm workers and (2) decreased availability of unauthorized workers in all economic sectors. We also discuss whether the supply of foreign-born farm labor has tightened.