Western, NY has some of the finest farmland in the United States. One reason our family was attracted to the area was the abundance of scenic and productive and tasty and fun farms! However, as nice as the place is physically, the Wesley Mouches of the world are doing their best to see more houses grow up from the fields:
But local growers say the state is not an easy place to do business because of labor shortages and high productions costs.”This is one of the prime areas, climate wise, for growing fruit,” said Doug DeBadts Sr., the third generation in his family to grow apples in Sodus. “If there was a way to pick up the land and move it elsewhere to the same kind of climate, I think there would be exodus.”
What Mr. DeBadts does not say is that in effect this can happen and is already happening. Here is more:
But the high cost of business in the state — including taxes, fees, regulations and labor costs — eats away at farm profits, he said.”So we really have to battle against that and it’s a real struggle for us to do, still make a profit when productions costs are the highest in the nation,” said Gregg. “We are competing in a world-wide marketplace with growers in New Zealand and Chile and growers in Washington state who have much less production cost.”
Labor has been growers’ most pressing issue. Much of the seasonal labor force is made up of migrant workers from Mexico and Latin America. Immigration raids throughout western New York over the past three years has left many farmers with a shortage of workers …
Of course, the wizards in Albany will respond to this by asking for tariffs on New Zealand apples, and perhaps mandating higher wages in farming so that more American workers will want to go and pick apples. By the way, if I take the idea of opportunity cost too seriously, you can argue that I “spent” about $200 picking apples with my family last weekend.