29 April 2008

latest trend: american farmers moving to mexico; brazil

South of the border
Labor shortage sending farmers to Mexico
Originally published April 28, 2008

By Ike Wilson
News-Post Staff

Some American farmers are making their way southward, setting up shop across the border in Mexico and farther away in Brazil. It's a trend described as the future of U.S. farming.

Farmers making the move say they are at the leading edge of the future of American agriculture.

To date, U.S. farmers have 46,000 acres of farm production in Mexico, a figure that pales in comparison to the 27 million acres in California alone, but that number is expected to increase, according to a recent report by CBS reporter John Blackstone.

American farmers are also setting up operations in Brazil where the growing seasons are longer and labor and land costs are much lower, according to media reports.

Blackstone interviewed California farmer Steve Scaroni, whose 2,000 acres and 500-employee lettuce operation is in full production in Mexico.

"It's a very sad story for me to go Mexico to complete the American dream," Scaroni said.

Scaroni had to move part of his $50 million farm operation south because American farmers are unable find enough daily labor on a consistent basis, he said. He produces two million pounds of lettuce a week.

Scaroni received a big welcome from Mexican agriculture officials. They who told him that with U.S. farmers coming to Mexico, their citizens don't have to risk life and limb entering the United States in search of jobs. ~ click link to read more