Farmers in Alabama Cut Back on Crops
Some of the more than 1,100 farmers in Alabama said they are planting fewer crops this year. They would rather plant less than risk having the crops, such as tomatoes, rot in the fields for the second consecutive year. The reason crops are spoiling is Alabama is in the midst of a labor shortage that is linked to the illegal immigration crackdown.
Farmers in the heart of tomato country in Alabama said they had to cut back on the acreage they planted amidst fears the number of workers would not be sufficient to pick the fruit come harvest time. Some farmers did not have sufficient workers last fall when the immigration law was signed by Governor Bentley.
The farmers described it as being uncertain and too risky to chance. Other farmers are cutting back on other fruits and vegetables and instead they are planting more peanuts and cotton, which both can be harvested by machinery without large manual labor forces needed.
The exact number of farmers changing their acreage size due to the new law is unknown. It is also uncertain whether the changes will have an affect the amount of produce and vegetables in the supermarkets. Some farmers have decided to plant the same amount as in years past.
Agriculture officials in Alabama have said the new immigration law has created huge labor shortages since it was instituted last year by the Legislature. The sponsors of the bill said they wanted the illegal immigrants to leave their state and passed the new legislation making it more difficult for them to work and live there.