labor in Fruit and also Vegetable agriculture

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November 20, 2020

US households, what the federal government calls customer units, invested an average $615 a year or $12 a main on fresh fruits and vegetables in 2019. New fruits and also vegetables are taken into consideration labor intensive because the wages and benefits the the hired farm yard workers who plant, tend, and harvest them average a third of the farm yard price.

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What would happen if fewer farm employees were available and farm labor prices rose?

1997 Census Data

A study of hand job in us fruits and also vegetables based upon the 1997 Census of agriculture estimated the variety of hand workers forced for major fruits and also vegetables. For example, 50 hrs were compelled to harvest every of the 454,000 acre of apples, and 60 hrs to harvest each of the 668,000 acres of handling oranges. The apologize harvest was much shorter, so the 57,000 to apologize pickers were compelled over 10 weeks, versus 39,000 orange pickers to harvest oranges over 26 weeks.

The many labor-intensive fruit was fresh blueberries, which compelled 530 hours per acre, so the harvesting 23,000 acre over 12 weeks compelled 25,000 workers. By contrast, the 45,000 acre of strawberries required 200 harvest hours per acre over 16 weeks, and also a full of 14,000 harvest workers.

The fruit in the 1997 table compelled a complete of 280,000 harvest workers for durations that ranged from six weeks (sweet cherries) to 30 weeks (avocados). The three key variables affecting the compelled harvest workforce room acres that the commodity, harvest hours per acre, and the duration of the harvest. Fewer 보다 280,000 employees would be required due to the fact that some workers might harvest numerous crops, such together cherry harvesters who additionally pick apples.

US fruit in 1997 required an estimated 280,000 harvest workers

Hand-Harvested U.S. Fruit Crops, 1997 Crop1 acres (1,000) farms Leading States(Most come Least) Production(Millions the lbs.) FarmGateValue4 worth Rank Lh/ac Harv. Main Harv. Wrkers.3(1,000s) Proc. Pct. Mech Proc? Harv. Fresh? job Aid?
Apple 454.2 28,100 WA, NY, MI, CA, PA 10,226.6 1,575.4 16 50 10 57 40 N N N
Apricot 21.9 3,063 CA, WA 276.0 42.6 86 70 6 13 79 N N N
Avocado 66.00 6,069 CA, FL 356.6 277.8 50 25 30 1 1 N N N
Cherries, Sweet, Fresh 27.4 8,423 OR, WA, MI, CA , UT 230.9 84.7 47 160 6 18 0 n/a N N
Grapes, Fresh 107.4 19,961 CA, AZ, NY, GA, PA 1,874.2 588.5 11 50 16 8 0 n/a N N
Kiwifruit 6.6 589 CA 78.0 16.5 107 175 4 7 2 N N N
Nectarine 37.1 2,488 CA, WA, PA , SC, NJ 528.0 98.9 75 65 12 5 2 N N N
Olive 33.7 1,363 CA 208.0 66.8 79 85 8 9 100 N n/a N
Peach, Fresh 75.4 14,459 CA, SC, AL, TX, IL 1,126.8 274.5 34 65 12 10 0 n/a N N
Peach, Proc. 31.6 * CA, SC 1,381.6 169.7 * 65 8 19 100 N2 n/a N
Pear, Fresh 38.5 8,062 WA, CA, OR, NY, MI 1,144.6 188.0 43 55 8 7 0 n/a N N
Pear, Proc .31.6 * CA, WA, OR, NY, MI 939.2 99.8 * 55 8 5 100 N n/a N
Plum 46.7 6,585 CA, OR, MI 539.4 83.3 74 45 12 45 Y N N
Grapefruit, Fresh 90.0 4,445 FL, TX, CA 2,742.0 233.8 48 70 26 6 0 n/a N N
Grapefruit, Proc. 82.4 * FL, TX, CA 2,510.0 * * 60 26 5 100 N n/a N
Lemon 60.4 2,108 CA, AZ 1,718.0 294.1 44 185 26 11 52 N N N
Lime 2.1 861 FL 28.0 4.4 122 75 26 * FL, CA, TX, AZ 22,002.0 * * 60 26 39 100 N2 n/a N
Tangelo 13.3 1,001 FL 354.0 19.1 101 55 16 1 68 N N N
Tangerine 42.5 1,855 FL, CA, AZ 836.0 118.5 71 55 26 2 33 N N N
Cult Blueberry, Fresh 22.8 5,159 NJ, MI, NC OR, GA 69.3 76.2 66 530 12 25 0 n/a N2 N
Strawberry, Fresh 33.0 7,141 CA, FL, OR, NY, NC 1,201.8 788.0 24 200 16 10 0 n/a N Y
Strawberry, Proc 11.7 * CA, OR, WA, MI 426.0 115.4 * 200 16 4 100 N n/a Y
1 details for the first seven columns is from assorted USDA-NASS summaries, view Ref. 20
2 variety of harvest workers = (acres xLh/ac) + (harvest mainly x 40h/week). This is most likely a low estimate.
3 mechanical harvesting technology is start to be adopted, however use is much less than 5 percent.
4 Millions
* Only total data (fresh plus processed) found, view number above. Source: https://cis.org/Report/Alternatives-Immigrant-Labor

A comparable review of farm yard labor in vegetables estimated that 31,000 workers were compelled to harvest 74,000 acre of asparagus, followed by 17,000 employees to harvest 285,000 acres of lettuce and 15,000 workers to harvest 236,000 acre of fresh sweet corn. The many labor-intensive vegetables were 15,000 acres of environment-friendly onions, inquiry 300 hours per acre, and 56,000 acres of bell peppers that required 200 harvest hrs per acre. New asparagus and also cucumbers each compelled 150 hrs per acre.

The vegetables listed in the table required a full of 145,000 harvest employees for periods that ranged from ripe weeks because that asparagus come 24 to 26 weeks for lettuce, beans, and melons. Just like fruit sector workers, part vegetable workers might harvest two crops, so that fewer than 145,000 might be needed.

US vegetables in 1997 forced an estimated 145,000 harvest workers

Hand-Harvested U.S. Vegetable Crops, 1997 Crop1 acre (1,000) ranches Leading States(Most come Least) Production(Millions that lbs.) Farm gate Value4 value Rank Lh/ac Harv. Weeks Harv. Wrkers.2(1,000s) Proc. Pct. Mech Proc? Harv. Fresh? job Aid?
Artichoke 9.3 nd CA 93.0 73.9 80 60 26 * CA, AZ, FL, OH 985.8 190.9 63 50 22 2 0 n/a N N
Lettuce, Leaf 48.6 * CA, AZ, OH, FL 1,038.7 299.2 55 75 22 4 0 n/a N N
Mustard Greens 12.3 1,182 CA, GA, TX, SC, IL nd nd nd 40 16 3 N
Spinach, Fresh 22.7 1,173 CA, NJ, TX, CO, MD 326.5 102.3 82 40 26 3 N
Tomato, Fresh 125.4 14,386 FL, CA, GA, VA, TN 1,246.8 3,780.9 18 50 16 9 0 n/a N Y
Turnip Greens 11.1 918 GA, TN, AR, SC, AL nd nd nd 40 26
1 information for the very first seven columns is from assorted USDA-NASS summaries, see Ref. 20
2 variety of harvest employees = (acres xLh/ac) + (harvest weeks x 40h/week). This is most likely a low estimate.
3 mechanical harvesting an innovation is start to it is in adopted, however use is much less than 5 percent.
4 Millions
* Only complete data (fresh to add processed) found, view number above.
nd = No data found
Source: https://cis.org/Report/Alternatives-Immigrant-Labor

The study concluded the the mechanization the hand work was the “only systems to significantly reduce production costs and also maintain competitiveness.” it emphasized the technical challenges and economic hurdles to mechanization in “minor” fruit and vegetable commodities, and urged public-private partnerships to assistance the research essential to accelerate labor-saving mechanization.

2017 Census Data

There have been many changes in fruit and vegetable production between 1997 and 2017. The US population rose by much more than 50 million, indigenous 273 million come 325 million. The every capita intake of plenty of fresh fruits and also vegetables rose: fresh strawberry intake rose from four pounds per human being in 1997 to seven pounds per human in 2018. However, the usage of lettuce fell from 30 pounds per human to 25 pounds between 1997 and 2017.

The acreage the the most labor-intensive fruits rose over the past three decades. The acreage of grew blueberries rose from 23,000 to 113,000 in between 1997 and also 2017, and also the acreage the strawberries rose from 45,000 to 60,000. The acreage of apples dropped from 454,000 to 382,000 in 2017 and the acreage of all oranges from 842,000 come 603,000.

The acreage of lettuce climbed from 286,000 come 343,000, however the acreage the asparagus fell from 74,000 in 1997 to 30,000 in 2017, the acreage of eco-friendly onions fell from 15,000 come 6,800, and also acreage the bell peppers dropped from 56,000 come 49,000.

Employment in countless fruits and also vegetables agriculture rose over the previous three years due to climbing yields. Take apples. Yields per acre rose with dwarf tree planted closer together, and also labor intensity boosted as high-value varieties such as Honeycrisp changed red and golden delicious.

Estimating the variety of hours and also workers essential to produce and also harvest commodities is daunting for number of reasons. First, the most reliable data are for acres, however the acre of apples and also oranges include different varieties with unique labor requirements. Oranges incorporate those harvested to it is in processed right into orange juice which do not need to be tackled carefully and those harvested for the fresh industry which require more care in picking and handling.

Second, assets may be both hand picked and machine picked, as when the an initial crop the blueberries is picked by hand and also the 2nd is through machine. Even if assets are completely hand picked, the very first harvest might be a careful pick, and also the second harvest a strip choose of staying fruits and also vegetables.

Third, harvest is not constantly the most labor-intensive component of production. Because that example, producing Gala to apologize is approximated to call for over 200 hrs an acre to prune trees, thin apples, and also cover them v netting, and also only 125 hrs an acre come harvest.

With these caveats, the table listed below shows the strawberries need the many labor per acre, 4 times more than the next most labor-intensive commodities, blueberries and table grapes. Apples call for the many harvest workers since of their big acreage, job intensity, and fairly short harvest season. Oranges call for fewer harvest workers because of lower hrs per acre and also a longer season.

Strawberry harvesting needs the most labor every acre; apple harvesting requires the many workers

Strawberry harvesting needs the most labor every acre; to apologize harvesting calls for the many workers fruit Acreage (2017) Harvest Hours/acre Harvest hrs (mils) Harvest hours/worker Harvest workers
Apples 381,718 126 48 500 96,193
Blueberries, tame 113,199 160 18 500 36,224
Cherries, sweet 105,978 80 8 500 16,956
Grapes, table 83,000 149 12 500 24,734
Oranges 602,830 20 12 1250 9,645
Peaches 112,861 84 9 500 18,961
Strawberries 60,162 700 42 1250 33,691
Fruit subtotal 1,459,748 151 236,404
All noncitrus 2,160,940
Citrus 824,983
Berries 253,000
Harvest hours per worker assumes 50 hour weeks for 10 weeks other than oranges and also strawberries, 25 weeks
Apples harvest labor is for Gala in WA
Blueberries i think 8,000 pounds every acre and also workers pick 50 pounds per hour
Cherries i think yields mean 8,000 pounds per acre and also workers choose 100 pounds one hour
There were 1.1 million acre of grapes, including 83,000 bearing acres of table grapes in 2019
Oranges i think 240 boxes every acre and workers pick 12 boxes an hour
Peaches are based upon a 2017 cost Study
Strawberries assume 7,000 trays per acre and workers pick 10 trays every hour
Berries room blackberries, tame blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries

Vegetables are harvested to be consumed fresh and to be processed by canning or freezing. Vegetables harvested because that the fresh market require the many farm workers, and (iceberg) lettuce stands out together requiring a high variety of hours per acre and having a large acreage. The various other fresh vegetables through 100,000 or an ext harvested acres employ fewer 보다 25,000 workers if workers occupational 50 hour weeks during the significant harvest period.

Broccoli and lettuce need the many harvesting hrs per acre

These data show that the major fresh fruits and vegetables could be harvest with about 400,000 hand employees if these workers were work 50 hours a week during the harvest period. Most workers room not work 50 hours a week for 10 or 25 weeks, which is why more workers space employed in these harvests than shown in the table. Seasonality, mismatches in between where employees live and where crops are grown, and declining migrancy are several of the components that make it difficult to rally harvest workforces efficiently.

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Broccoli and lettuce need the many harvesting hrs per acre Vegetables us Acreage Harvest Hours/acre Harvest hours (mils) Harvest hours/worker Harvest employees Corn Potatoes Broccoli and (iceberg) lettuce hrs divide harvest cost per acre in 2017 by $20 an hour Sweet corn is based upon a 2008-09 FL price study of $345 an acre to pick, pack, and haul at $15 = 23 hours/acre Sweet potatoes based upon NC 2020 harvest 500 bushels per acre at a price of $1.50 every bushel, and $750 per acre at $15 every hour tomato excludes 233,000 acre of processing tomatoes Watermelons based on $600 per acre harvesting expenses in 2012 in ~ $15 an hour
Broccoli 135,185 210 28 1250 22,711
Lettuce 342,965 270 93 1250 74,080
Sweet 496,096 23 11 500 22,820
Sweet 172,983 50 9 500 17,298
Tomatoes 102,000 72 7 500 14,688
Watermelons 129,790 40 5 500 10,383
All new vegetables 2,617,646
Potatoes, fresh 535,792
Harvest hrs per worker assumes 50 hour weeks for 10 weeks except broccoli and also lettuce, 25 weeks
Hours per acre data indigenous https://coststudies.julianum.net.edu/

References

Sarig, Yoav, James Thompson, and Galen Brown. 2000. Alternatives to Immigrant Labor? CIS. Https://cis.org/Report/Alternatives-Immigrant-Labor i ordered it via email Click right here to i ordered it to Rural migrate News via email.