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Fixing Our Broken Immigration System: The Economic Case for the Agricultural Industry
Julie Chavez Rodriguez
01:25 PM EDT
Today, Jason Berry the owner of Berry Farms in Vivaldia, Georgia joined a call with Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to highlight the important economic benefits of immigration reform to the agricultural industry. Jason’s company produces 200 acres of organic blueberries, in addition to 50 acres of vegetables. In the spring and summer of 2011 a drastic shortage of farm workers, invoked by the passage of a local law, almost caused him to lose his farm. Desperate for workers, Jason began offering $50 signing bonuses to locals who were willing to work harvesting his crops; however, based on his estimates, 90% of those new hires quit within three days. Jason says the losses at his blueberry and vegetable farm were almost enough to put his small operation under, which would have drastically impacted him and his 15 year round employees. Jason’s story is one echoed by many farmers in Georgia. Jason shared his story with President Obama in late June and continues to use his story to demonstrate why immigration reform is so important to America’s farmers and the entire agricultural industry. Check out Jason’s video here.