Growers predict abundant labor

| Print |  Email
Wednesday, April 01, 2009

STATEWIDE When the time comes this June to pick his strawberries, Mike Christensen is not quite sure who will be in the fields.

But with the economy in a shambles and jobs in short supply, growers like Christensen, who owns a 250-acre strawberry farm in the Willamette Valley and is chairman of the Oregon Strawberry Commission, could benefit from a larger supply of available workers.

The harvest of Oregon’s valuable tree fruit and berry crop is months away, so it’s typically a grower’s best guess how much labor will be on hand for the tough work of picking. “A shortage of labor should generally not be a problem this year,” says state labor economist Art Ayre.

In the last three years growers have seen a labor shortage of up to 25%, according to the Columbia Gorge Fruit Growers. The healthier economy provided more desirable job opportunities to field workers, says Jean Godfrey, executive director of the group. But this year, growers expect many of those workers who left for better jobs to return to field work, especially those from construction.

But Christensen anticipates more working-age high school and college students seeking summer work this year, and worries about seeing a return of the migrant labor that he has come to depend on, many of whom he says have left the state.

Godfrey thinks otherwise. “We just do not see urban unemployed workers willing to come out here,” she says.

JASON SHUFFLER

Have an opinion? E-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

More Articles

Modern design defines new Portland indoor market

The Latest
Thursday, June 25, 2015
thumbSnøhetta JBPM exterior www mir noBY KIM MOORE | RESEARCH EDITOR

An international architecture firm known for its design of the National September 11 Memorial Museum Pavilion in New York unveiled its plan this week for a modern indoor/outdoor food market at the foot of the Morrison Bridge in downtown Portland.


Read more...

Photo log: Murray's Pharmacy

The Latest
Friday, July 17, 2015
OBM-Heppner-Kaplan thumbBY JASON KAPLAN

Photographer Jason Kaplan takes a look at Murray's Pharmacy in Heppner.  The family owned business is run by John and Ann Murray, who were featured in our July/August cover story: 10 Innovators in Rural Health Care.


Read more...

Storyteller in Chief: Natural Prophets

July/August 2015
Monday, July 13, 2015
BY SAM BLACKMAN

Storyteller-in-chief with the CEO and co-founder of Elemental Technologies.


Read more...

Marijuana law ushers in new business age

The Latest
Tuesday, June 23, 2015
062315panelthumbBY KIM MOORE | RESEARCH EDITOR

Oregon’s new marijuana law is expected to lead to a bevy of new business opportunities for the state. And not just for growers. Law firms, HR consultants, energy efficiency companies and many others are expected to benefit from the decriminalization of pot, according to panelists at an Oregon Business breakfast meeting on Tuesday.


Read more...

The Private 150: From Strength to Strength

July/August 2015
Monday, July 13, 2015
BY KIM MOORE

Revenues in Oregon's private, for profit sector maintained solid growth as the economy continued to rebound.


Read more...

Photo Log: Waterfront Blues Festival

The Latest
Thursday, July 09, 2015
bluesfestthumbBY JASON E. KAPLAN | STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

The sweltering weather didn't keep the crowds away. Although the numbers were down slightly from last year, the Oregon Food Bank raised $850,636 to fight hunger.  About 80,000 people attended despite temperatures in the upper 90s.


Read more...

5 stats about Oregon fireworks

The Latest
Thursday, June 18, 2015
fireworksthumb001BY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Fireworks are a booming industry, even if the pyrotechnics have turned July 4th into a day fire marshals, and many residents, love to hate.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS