Immigration woes a lot of rot, says soon-To-Be ex-Tomato grower — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily

Immigration woes a lot of rot, says soon-To-Be ex-Tomato grower

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Fourth-generation farmer Keith Eckel, owner of Fred W. Eckel Sons Farms in Clarks Summit, has said he will no longer grow tomatoes because he can’t find enough workers to harvest them.

Eckel, Pennsylvania’s largest grower of fresh-to-market tomatoes, hired mostly Mexican laborers to bring in past harvests. He says those workers are no longer available.

“The system to provide our labor is broken, and the emotion surrounding the immigration issue is standing in the way of those in the political arena moving forward to solve it,” Eckel said. Last year, Eckel paid harvesters an average of $16.59 per hour, but it was still not enough to attract local labor to work the fields.

Carl Shaffer, president of the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau, predicted other farmers would follow Eckel’s lead and stop growing labor-intensive crops.

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