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YAKIMA COUNTY, Wash. — Small farmers gathered at the Yakima Convention Center to learn about tips on how to run a successful farm.
But, some say it’s impossible to do that, when there’s no one to help harvest.
Sergio Marquez, owner of Marquez Farms in Wapato, said, “There’s too much work and not enough workers. That’s for sure.” Marquez said he can’t find people willing to pick fruit and laments that there used to be “a cheap, easy, and illegal solution to his problem,” according to KIMA. The report goes on to state the following:
“The coyotes, they used to charge like $200 to get you across the border, no problem, and that was easy, but not anymore,” said Marquez.
Marquez reports that with increased border security, coyotes charge much larger fees. He says smugglers ask $10,000 – $15,000 for their smuggling services.
The governments H-2A program offers a legal solution, but that option is out of his budget. H-2A employers are required to provide the program employees with housing and transportation to the job location.
“Pay the ticket from the border to here, and then I need to give him a home, insurance and all that stuff so its kinda expensive I think, but I wish I could do something like that; but I need to build homes for them and that’s not cheap,” said Marquez.
Another farmer, Jose Rouna, told KIMA he can’t afford the H-2A program either. “It’s too expensive for us to get that kinda help because the building that we have to have before we can put H-2A workers, their requirement is too high,” he said.
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