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Food shortages this summer?

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  • Food shortages this summer?

    We have had a problem in the US getting pickers for crops, but the UK having issues is new.

    Recruitment agencies are warning that they cannot secure the number of workers needed by British farmers to pick their fruit and vegetables.

    Over half of recruitment companies could not find the labour even in the "quiet" first months of this year, the UK Association of Labour Providers says.

    This is an older article, but still very applicable.

    I am very involved with AG here, and I am suspecting more crops won' get out of the fields than in previous years. Maybe more farmers will open to U-Pick this year to save crops from rotting, but if that happens, less and less farmers will be replanting.... especially specialty crops, and those more labor intensive.

    With the tariffs with the EU, Mexico, Canada, and China, food procurement for this country is going to get interesting. Find a bigger garden for your family? Make an annex to your pantry?


  • #2
    Very likely Cedar. With the govt having such lucrative socialist programs like unemployment for life (or damn near for life) there is no incentive to get a job, even a seasonal one or one under the table. and quite a few of the younger generation have never met a job they like much less a menial one where they'd have to leave the AC and their cell phone. Interesting times for sure when you also consider the pressures on the illegals that have always played a large role in harvesting.

    But you raise an interesting idea to me. Even if not a full U-pick farm might be interesting to talk with farmers in our areas to see who is looking for some help and who would be willing to barter some work hours for some of the crop. in place of some cash. So maybe for helping pick apples for a 20 hr weekend you might get paid for say 15hrs with cash and the other 5 you'd get 2 or 3 bushel of apples. Even more mechanized farms where much of the work is done by machine but hands are still required for other roles. So maybe a farm with green beans, corn or potatoes. A few bushel of green beans or sweet corn could really fill the canning shelves and or freezer. It could be cheap way to bolster the pantry while getting hands on experience in how more of a commercial operation runs and also getting to make connections to the area. Also maybe the weekend after you get your apples you bake a dozen or so apple pies, maybe make some fried pies, apple fritters, apple sauce, dried apples, etc and take them to the farmers market or similar outlet.

    Or maybe you're able to swap some of those finished products or maybe even just some of the apples to someone that is selling pears, or peaches or plums... swap one bounty for another.
    I can explain it to you, but I can't understand it for you!


    • #3
      To me it begs the question; What has Changed? CG may have hit the nail on the head. As long as people can collect welfare they won't work.

      We have a farmer close to here that turned his orchards into a retail operation. In his early days he had difficulty getting product to market. It was expensive to get trucks to haul fruit. He opened the orchards up to the public; "Come Pick Your Own" and it turned into a huge success. Great family activity to go out to a farm, and pick your own apples and peaches. The operation has expanded exponentially.

      Food for thought. No pun intended.
      The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary.

      Everything happens for a reason. Sometimes the reason is you are stupid, and make bad decisions.


      • #4
        I'm envious of anyone that has agriculture. My closest farms are a minimum of 2 hours away unless your looking for hay fields. It's concerning that crops are being left in the field. I wonder how this will affect commodities prices and even worse, how will this affect smaller farmers?



        • #5
          Originally posted by Morgan101 View Post
          He opened the orchards up to the public; "Come Pick Your Own" and it turned into a huge success. Great family activity to go out to a farm, and pick your own apples and peaches. The operation has expanded exponentially.
          That opens a whole other can of problems. I used to work on a friend's large family farm which had U-Pick crops, sold to Smuckers, school tours and pumpkin patch.

          1. Insurance. Honestly, many people who come to the farm are ignorant or are oblivious. Lawsuits are always a worry. Like the kid who chased a male peacock for a couple hours, the peacock finally had enough and pecked the kid in the forehad, and the parents sued the farm. Insurance for this type of venture can be expensive.

          2. People will wander all over your property, buildings, equipment. Not everyone, but some will. the

          3. You still have to hire staff to babysit U-Pickers in the fields. People don'
          watch their kids, I have seen kids, climbing peach trees, people pulling on and yanking fruit, damaging trees and shrubs.

          As long as people can collect welfare they won't work.
          As a farmer, I would be nervous hiring unskilled farm workers. Do these unskilled workers know how to run farm equipment without injuring or killing themselves or others? Repair farm equipment? Can recognize a problem? Are they fast workers and can get 10 flats an hour? Or are they going to get a mere single flat an hour?

          I have WWOOFers on my farms some years. I have had a total of 14 over the years. They come to me unskilled, I teach them, feed them, house them, show them local sights, take classes, in exchange for teaching them skills. They have stayed anywhere from 2 days (one family who had a house forelosed on, 2 kids, no job, no home, and I felt sorry for them so took them in at 3 hrs a day of labor), but after 24 hrs they bailed during the night), to having other people staying 6 months.

          Even though I work with these people daily while they are there, I do not trust them to work on their own for weeks.

          My closest farms are a minimum of 2 hours away unless your looking for hay fields.
          It was expensive to get trucks to haul fruit
          There is also a trucking shortage, as well as diesel prices going up. Did you know it takes a can of tomatoes an average of 2,000 miles to get from the fields to get to your kitchen table?

          The applejuice I snagged out of mom's frkidge yesterday was a Western Family brand, but it was processed from apples from China.

          99 percent of artichokes, 99 percent of walnuts, 97 percent of kiwis, 97 percent of plums, 95 percent of celery, 95 percent of garlic, 89 percent of cauliflower, 71 percent of spinach, and 69 percent of carrots, etc comes from California. How far are you from California?

          How far are you from Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana,Mississippi, Missouri, or California, where USA rice is grown?

          Like bread made from wheat? The main wheat growing states is North Dakota, Kansas, and Montana are the leading wheat producing states


          Last edited by Cedar; 06-07-2018, 12:28 PM.


          • #6
            I picked all kinds of fruit and vegetables as a kid - Strawberries, Raspberries, blackberries! Hell, I even picked chickens! We didn't make a whole lot, but as a kid back then, $20 for a day goes a long way. Today's generations don't want to go out and get dirty for what can be earned. They would rather play video games and get high. (Well, a lot of them!)

            Here in California, we still do have a "serf" population from Mexico. They can still make enough cash to send back to their families and make it worthwhile. Most of the crops Cedar mentioned are being worked by all Mexican labor. People bitch about illegals, however, the nations agriculture would come crashing to a apocalyptic halt if they were all rounded up and sent back. Sorry folks, we NEED those people here because our people won't do the job. Period.

            The problem is, as was mentioned above; US! The average American citizen. We are spoiled, entitled, fat and low energy. We need an alien invasion to harvest 90% of people for space burgers. Start all over. Get back to struggling to put dinner on the table. Realign basic human priorities.

            The world is broke.

            I'm not a fatalist. I'm a realist.


            • #7
              Well I think this also makes the point for more self sustainability as well as seasonal eating. This is where I think permaculture can come into play for many of us. From the small backyard orchard where we plant say 1 to 3 varieties of apples, peaches, pears, cherries, etc in the same hole and then intelligently prune them small to maintain small heights so it's easy to pick. Also thin fruit when it first comes on so as to reduce the number the tree is trying to grow. Less fruit means all the energy goes into less fruit but they will be larger, healthier and often sweeter. We also need to have understory support plants that include herbs for cooking as well as medicinal uses. If we all used more fresh herbs in our diets we'd get the benefits they provide like anti bacterial, anti fungal, anti inflammatory etc...All kinds of benefits to this approach to "gardening".

              Another thing is we need to eat seasonally like we've done for millenia. Man wasn't meant to gorge on high fructose corn syrup 24/7/365. In late summer and fall high sugar fruits came into season so we could gorge and build fat reserves from the excess sugar (any one want to guess why 'Merica is really fat today) and we'd have that to go thru winter and the dark times until the plants came back in the spring. Today we can go down to the grocery in February and pick up apples, tomatoes, cucumbers, whatever grown half way around the world in Lord knows what kind of soil and watered with water full of fecal mater and worse. To be more sustainable we need to focus on local. Like Dale says, why do those farms grow hay? cause it sells, if there was demand and profit locally for say potatoes and if the soil and climate were conducive, that's what they'd grow. But there isn't demand for local sourced, quality food. Also the majority of people don't really cook today, its fast food or can or box meals from Wally World like Hamburger helper etc... The one place in my business travels the last 9 years I saw breaking the mold and embracing this was in Vermont. It seemed everywhere you went to say local restaurants most or all of the items on the seasonal menus were from local and regional sources.
              I can explain it to you, but I can't understand it for you!


              • #8
                Kansas wheat damage

                Winter wheat accounts for 70 to 80 percent of total production in the U.S., with the largest amounts produced in Kansas and North Dakota.