Buffett Foundation: Trip to Yuma, AZ

On the past September 12 and 13, 2011, the ILPIL team traveled to Yuma, AZ, and San Luis, MX, meet with agricultural representatives in the Southwestern, AZ to discuss matters related to the immigrant workforce as part of the project funded by the Howard G. Buffett Foundation

Harvesting Bin
Harvesting Bin

During the meeting the team captured important information with regards to the general characteristics of the region’s agricultural workforce. These are some of the preliminary findings:

  • Agricultural workers in the region are highly skilled. Nonetheless, there is little incentive for the domestic worker to perform at high quality levels (high turnovers and low reliability) due to the wide-spread availability of jobs.
  • Among the problems that FLC’s identified with the H-2A visa are the various requirements associated with petitioning and maintaining the foreign workforce.
  • Main argument was the importance of a special visa with an easier transaction process that can represent the temporary immigrant workforce and meet the fluctuating labor demands in the U.S.
  • Implementation of the e-verify program would greatly impact the labor supply in the region; issues with food safety and traceability add urgency to the matter of maintaining and adding labor supply in order to keep production within the U.S.

Next steps include follow-up on the details collected on the visit to develop an economic study that correctly identifies the dynamics of the region with consistent and reliable figures

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Ira A. Fulton School of Engineering
P.O. Box 9309 | Arizona State University | Tempe, AZ 85287-9309

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