WATSONVILLE — Fresh on the heels of a national election that once again highlighted the issue of immigration, California farmers are seizing the opportunity to push for immigration reform they say is needed to maintain the state’s multi-billion dollar agriculture industry in the face of persistent farm worker shortages.
At its annual convention in Pasadena, California Farm Bureau Federation President Paul Wenger called on the group’s 74,000 members across the state to come together and increase their political activities at a time when California commodities and crops are strong.
The state produces more than 400 commodities — and nearly half of all US-grown fruits, nuts and vegetables, according to the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA).
2011 was a good year for California agriculture, which experienced a 15 percent increase in sales value. The state’s 81,500 farms and ranches earned a record $43.5 billion last year, up from $38 billion in 2010, making California the nation’s top earner with 11.6 percent of the country’s cash farm receipts, according to the CDFA.
For the complete article see the 12-08-2012 issue.
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