Monday, March 20, 2006

Hello? Supply and demand?

People are making noises about a possible labor shortage in agriculture for the upcoming growing season, with better patrolling of US borders keeping more illegal immigrants out. From an Eastern Washington news article:
This year's unprecedented recruiting effort comes at a time of urgency among farmers and farm workers alike as border tensions and concerns about national security threaten to paralyze Congress on far-reaching immigration reform.

"There are about a half-dozen farms that are very scared. We need lots of people. It really is different this year," said Mike Gempler, executive director of the Yakima-based Washington Growers League, which represents agricultural employers in labor matters.
Am I missing something here, or wouldn't this be an easy problem to solve? If you can't get enough workers to pick your strawberries at dirt wages, you have to pay better wages. This will make the cost of production go up, and therefore the cost to the consumer, but so what? Isn't that how business works? If people aren't willing to spend more on strawberries or oranges then they don't have to buy it and people can get out of the strawberry and orange businesses. Seems pretty simple to me.
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