Clock ticks toward lost production
A former director of the Michigan Department of Agriculture estimates there are about five years before farm labor cost pressures decrease the state’s crop diversity.
Jamie Clover Adams tells Brownfield there will be widespread consequences if production costs aren’t reigned in and rural communities are at risk.
“When you have fewer acres of specialty crops, you don’t need as many freezers, canners, and fresh packers, then you don’t need as many of those businesses who all pay taxes and support local communities and schools,” she shares. “What’s going to be the snowball effect?”
Cover Adams now works as the Michigan Asparagus Marketing Advisory Board executive director and says she’s consistently losing farmers and production.
“My guys are already starting to go to more mechanically harvested specialty crops or they’re moving land out of specialty crops into row crops,” she says.
She’s calling for policy reforms and incentives to serve as a bridge for farmers as they work to reduce labor needs with technological advancements.
Brownfield interviewed Clover Adams during the recent Michigan State University Farm Labor Conference.
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Author: Nicole Heslip