Michigan among states concerned about ag labor


Michigan among states concerned about ag labor

An agribusiness leader says the COVID-19 restrictions have many farmers and farm-related businesses worried about having enough labor.  Chuck Lippstreu with the Michigan Agri-business Association tells Brownfield the availability of workers is something they are tracking very closely. “Those farmworkers that the fruit and vegetable industry rely on to conduct their really labor-intensive operations, but then for commodity crop and for ag retailers and grain handlers, there’s certainly a need to have truck drivers out there, especially seasonal drivers that they’re hiring on a short-term basis.”

Lippstreau says worker health and safety is a huge issue for farmers, including the fruit and vegetable growers, and the coronavirus has made it more complex. “We’re encouraging everybody in the industry to take a few minutes with the employees that are out there conducting critical operations. Focus on those best practices to limit the spread of coronavirus. It’s a serious issue in rural America. It’s a serious issue small towns. We have to take it seriously.”

Along with the labor to support planting conventional crops like corn and soybeans, Michigan’s asparagus harvest will need laborers from early May until mid-June.

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