Fifty-six percent of the state’s farmers have been unable to hire all the workers they need to tend their crops over the past five years, according to a survey released Tuesday by the California Farm Bureau Federation.
The survey of 1,071 farmers and ranchers, conducted in collaboration with UC Davis, also found the hiring troubles have intensified over the past two years. At least 70% who responded with hiring difficulties said the situation worsened in 2017 and 2018.
The survey found 86% of the state’s farmers said they had raised wages in an attempt to recruit more workers. Sixty-one percent reported they had hired a farm labor contractor to find more employees. More than half reported they have started using machines in the fields, while 56% of those respondents said it was because of employee shortages.
This story originally appeared on PressDemocrat.com, also part of the Sonoma Media Investments news network.