Refocus on farm labor shortage: Personal experience

March 3, 2013 

I would like to say that I took offense to the tone of the responses in a Fast Focus/ What should we do about the farm labor shortage? Most of the responses were that we could put the lazy individuals collecting public assistance, unemployed and criminals to work in the fields to earn their keep. Obviously, none of these responders have been in that position.

I speak from experience as I came from a family who received public assistance and started working my summers in the field when I was 7 years old. The work is harder than any of the other low-paying jobs around and the pay is even less. My two brothers were the best workers a local blueberry farmer had. They could harvest 3 tons of berries between them during the season and still barely make enough to purchase their clothes for school. Most of your migrants share accomidations and pool all their money to keep a roof over their heads. Everyone works and everyone conrtributes.

Though there maybe some who fit their description of being just lazy, most do not; and those who don't can't afford to take these jobs.

VICKIE ELKINS, Kennewick

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