Despite High Unemployment, Americans Don't Want Farm Jobs

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

cornfield at dusk (James Jordan/flickr)

Though nearly one out of every 11 people across the country is out of work, on industry is facing a labor shortage. Some farmers in the western U.S. who have traditionally relied on migrant workers are now offering the same jobs to Americans — $10 an hour for pulling in the fall harvest. John Harold is one of those farmers. Instead of hiring migrant workers this year, he left openings for local, jobless Americans, something he considers a mistake. Americans, he says, proved to be less reliable and less willing to perform the hard work necessary to run his corn and onion farm than foreign workers.

Kirk Johnson, who profiled Harold's farm for The New York Times, talks about this trend nationally.


John Harold and Kirk Johnson

Produced by:

Jen Poyant

Comments [4]


Thomas MC - I think you need to do a bit more research before you make comments like that. John and the other farmers that use programs likes these go to great lengths for these workers. They make over $1000 a week. They are supplied housing. Many of these workers come back every year VOLUNTAIRILY! And as for the Jew comment you should be ashamed.

Nov. 30 2011 05:21 PM
Anthony G.

Many Americans do back breaking labor every day. Are these workers being treated fairly?
Other Americans find it much easier to collect welfare.

Oct. 05 2011 10:36 PM
Alan Nakamura from Denver, CO

I saw the same kind of work ethic John Harold talked about almost 30 years ago, working along side migrant farm workers on my uncle's farm in Oregon. He grew strawberries and raspberries, and it was hard work picking them by hand! Those migrant workers worked very efficiently, fast, and were able to make a lot of money at it.

I think Americans today are too soft when it comes to hard manual labor; many think they're "too good" to perform that type of work and the thought of having to do that type of job is "beneath" them.

Oct. 05 2011 10:09 PM
thomas mc from colorado springs

It's hard to have sympathy for these Tea Party fascists, who scapegoat immigrants and aliens the way Hitler did the Jews.

Oct. 05 2011 12:53 PM

Leave a Comment

Register for your own account so you can vote on comments, save your favorites, and more. Learn more.
Please stay on topic, be civil, and be brief.
Email addresses are never displayed, but they are required to confirm your comments. Names are displayed with all comments. We reserve the right to edit any comments posted on this site. Please read the Comment Guidelines before posting. By leaving a comment, you agree to New York Public Radio's Privacy Policy and Terms Of Use.