Fruit Growers, It’s Time to Mechanize or Die Trying [Opinion]

If you’re into conspiracies, you might be interested to know that I have stumbled onto a doozy, writes David Eddy on And it looks like this one might extend all the way up into the highest reaches of — as I’m sure any of you paranoid anti-government farmers have already surmised — USDA.


Like most doing research today, I start with a perusal of the internet. The topic was the subject of American Fruit Grower® and Western Fruit Grower® magazines’ June cover story.

The paper that caught my eye was “Alternatives to Immigrant Labor?” It was published by The Center for Immigration Studies, who some have accused of being anti-ag, but one of the authors is Jim Thompson, a retired University of California, Davis ag engineer who I have interviewed, and what he writes is good enough for me. Its introduction began with a statement from the California Farm Bureau Federation: “Without an adequate supply of workers to fill seasonal labor-intensive tasks such as harvesting, U.S. growers will become uncompetitive and be forced to reduce production of labor-intensive crops.”

Nothing new there, I thought, and then I looked at the top of the page for the year it was published: 2000. Oh great, it was worse than I thought, bringing one of my Sunday School Bible quotes to the fore: “There is nothing new under the sun.”


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