How do you say, "Sucking up to the illegals and their advocates?"
Georgia’s economy is projected to take a $391 million hit and shed about 3,260 jobs this year because of farm labor shortages, according to a report released Tuesday by the state’s agricultural industry.
The report does not cite the reasons for the worker shortages in Georgia’s $68.8 billion agricultural industry, the state’s largest. But many farmers complained this year that Georgia’s new immigration law -- House Bill 87 -- has scared away the migrant Hispanic workers they depend on, putting their crops at risk.
“The economic losses were real,” Black, a Republican, said under questioning from the Democratic-led Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees and Border Security.
Georgia farmers say many U.S. citizens won’t harvest crops in their fields because the work is physically taxing. Many instead hire foreign workers. And many of them are in the country illegally.
After the Republican-controlled state Legislature passed HB 87, farmers reported having trouble finding enough people to harvest their crops. So they commissioned a study of their financial losses.
UGA's Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development completed the study for the Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association and other state agricultural groups. The full report is expected to be released this week.
Researchers identified a shortage of 11,000 farm laborers and $74.9 million in losses from seven crops. They surveyed farmers representing nearly half of the acreage available for harvesting those seven crops last spring. Their losses resulted in an extra $106.5 million loss in other goods and services in Georgia plus 1,282 fewer jobs across the state, the report projected. Using these numbers and assuming the farmers they surveyed are representative of all Georgia farmers with the same crops, the researchers projected the state’s total yearly losses could be $391 million and 3,260 full-time jobs.