Growers predict abundant labor

| Print |  Email
Archives - April 2009
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

Old school: Paulsen's Pharmacy maintains old fashion ethos

The Latest
Thursday, December 18, 2014
121914-pharmacy-thumbBY MEGHAN NOLT

VIDEO: Under the radar — complete with a soda counter, the traditional Paulsen's Pharmacy looks to compete with big box retailers.


Read more...

Convention Wisdom

February 2015
Monday, January 26, 2015
BY KIM MOORE

After more than a decade of wrangling, construction on a convention center hotel in Portland is slated to start this summer. But debate over project financing continues.


Read more...

Will Medford Ever Be Cool?

February 2015
Friday, January 23, 2015
BY DAN COOK | PHOTOS BY JASON E. KAPLAN

A real-estate developer and a Lithia Motors executive aim to revamp the city's forlorn downtown.


Read more...

The city as startup

Guest Blog
Wednesday, January 14, 2015
011415 citystartup-thumbBY NISHANT BHAJARIA | OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR

Startups in the growth phase are associated with a fresh infusion of capital — human and financial — a curiosity factor and products to disrupt the market and drive demand. Portland’s economy gives off the same aroma.


Read more...

Light Moves

February 2015
Monday, January 26, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER

Fittingly, Light at Play — a business whose sole purpose is to create mesmerizing ambience — was conceived at Burning Man.


Read more...

The short list: Holiday habits of six Oregon CEOs

The Latest
Thursday, December 11, 2014
121214-xmaslist1BY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

We ask business and nonprofit leaders how they survive the season.


Read more...

Crowdfunding 2.0

News
Tuesday, December 02, 2014
120214-crowdfund-thumbBY LINDA BAKER

A conversation with attorney Erich Merrill about the latest way to raise money from large groups of people.


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