Summer vegetables are ripening in fields across North Carolina, but farmers fear the bounty could go unharvested if a growing labor shortage continues.
Now with the collapse this week of the immigration bill in the U.S. Senate, some farmers say they are angry and weary of waiting for help from Washington.
"They just want to stand outside and throw rocks. You wonder whether any of them want to do anything," said Thomas Joyner, president of Nash Produce, a Nash County cooperative that sells sweet potatoes, cucumbers and tobacco. Joyner was sorting freshly picked cucumbers late into the night Thursday and didn't realize until daybreak that the immigration deal had been scuttled, at least for now.
"They still can't solve it," Joyner said.[...]
...farmers argue that replacing immigrant workers with American labor is impossible. They say they advertise all their jobs, and few if any domestic workers respond.
"Americans today don't want to sweat and get their hands dirty," said Doug Torn, who owns a wholesale nursery in Guilford County.
Immigration Defeat Threatens N.C. Crops (The News and Observer, Raleigh, NC, June 9, 2007)