From GPB.org, Georgia Public Broadcasting, Melissa Stiers, 26 Aug 2011.
ATLANTA, GA — The new state immigration law has some Georgia farmers planting less food for the fall harvest. They’re worried about a worker shortage.
Some farmers couldn’t get all their crops out of the ground last harvest because they didn’t have enough people to pick them.
They blame the state’s immigration law that went into effect this summer allowing police to check the citizenship status of people investigated for other crimes.
Even though a federal judge has temporarily blocked that provision, farmers say the law still scares immigrant workers away, so they’re scaling back on planting.
Brent Brinkley sells watering equipment to farmers at United Irrigation Supply.
“Well what we’ve seen is after the problems that occurred in the Spring, several of our farmers had acreage that they were unable to have harvested,” says Brinkley. “They’ve cut back somewhat dramatically. I’d say anywhere from 20 to 50 percent on fall plantings.”
Brinkley says his sales from produce growers has dropped one third.