Florida farmers worry about harvesting crops - WFLA News Channel 8

Florida farmers worry about harvesting crops

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Florida orange groves (file photo) Florida orange groves (file photo)
This strawberry crop in Plant City requires at least 200 workers during the harvest season coming up in November and December This strawberry crop in Plant City requires at least 200 workers during the harvest season coming up in November and December
This strawberry crop in Plant City requires at least 200 workers during the harvest season coming up in November and December This strawberry crop in Plant City requires at least 200 workers during the harvest season coming up in November and December
This strawberry crop in Plant City requires at least 200 workers during the harvest season coming up in November and December This strawberry crop in Plant City requires at least 200 workers during the harvest season coming up in November and December

The government shutdown may have ended, but for some farmers in Florida the difficulties may lay ahead.

The Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association reports that some berry and citrus farmers across the state are finding difficulty in getting harvesters for this year's crop.

As a result of the government shutdown, the FFVA says farmers may encounter a back-log when it comes to acquiring foreign workers who usually take part in the Department of Labor's Guest Worker Program.

In 2012 citrus and berry farmers employed about 9,000 laborers to harvest their crop.

A percentage of those employed were foreign workers working in the state through the guest worker program.

With harvest season approaching, some farmers worry their crop won't be picked if worker numbers aren't adequate.

Plant City strawberry farmer, Carl Grooms, says he's made as many preparations as possible to compensate for a lack of workers.
 
"I have made applications to bring in another group by December to start harvesting with the additional ones I have here," Grooms said.

Grooms adds that foreign workers are vital, especially with a lack of domestic help.

"Year after year, there's been less and less of them because we can't depend on them to be here everyday that we need them."

Related Content: Strawberry farmers faced heat from weather, competitors

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