Farmers still adjusting to business after immigration crackdown - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Farmers still adjusting to business after immigration crackdown

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Alabama's get tough stance on illegal immigration is forcing some farmers to change the way they do business. In October 2011, the state passed, what some considered, the toughest immigration law in the nation. This past May, legislators toughened the legislation. 

On Chandler Mountain, where the tomato is king, some immigrant farm hands who fled the state last year have returned to work. However, the workforce is much smaller than it was before the law went into effect.  

Privately, farmers tell ABC 33/40 that production, on average, has been cut back by about 30 %, and will remain that way for possibly two years as they adjust to a new way of business. 

Attempts to attract and retain local farm hands has not proven fruitful. Farmers we spoke to are not aware of any mass effort to train farm hands to backfill the loss of migrant workers.

" There must be a stronger effort to recruit and retain workers," said Tuskegee University agriculture professor, Victor Khan "That's the problem. The labor that is available is not trained to do that type of farm work. If people are willing to train, you may not get everyone, but you will get more help willing to bring the harvest in".