Labor pains Michigan growers - The Packer

Labor pains Michigan growers

06/14/2013 02:54:00 PM
David Mitchell

“We’re a little nervous about it,” he said.

E. Miedema & Sons, which farms 1,500 acres of vegetable crops, employs about 120 workers at the peak of its season. Dave Miedema said he needed to hire about 80 more workers to get to that level.

“A lot of our crops are labor-intensive,” he said. “Cabbage is hand harvested. Sweet corn is mechanically harvested, but it takes a big pack crew.”

Miedema said he hopes the new housing will appeal to workers.

“It helps if you have better housing,” he said.

“It makes it more attractive. The goal is to keep people happy and have them come back.”

The Senate began debating an immigration bill in early June.

“One of the biggest challenges we face might be labor,” said Fred Leitz Jr. of Leitz Farms LLC, Sodus, Mich.

“I don’t see enough people. Congress really needs to get this immigration thing done.”

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