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Not enough labor to harvest green onions in Northern MexicoLabor problems in Mexico continue to be an issue for growers of green onions south of the border. “There’s the problem down in northern Mexico where there is still some shortage of labor,” says Steve Timsak of Church Brothers Farms in Salinas, Ca. “It was bad over the holidays and it’s getting a little better now but we’re still on the short side of labor.”
Timsak says that many temporary agricultural workers or H-2A workers are leaving Northern Mexico to go to the U.S. to work. “Plus there are more crops down in Northern Mexico and that’s taking labor away,” he says. “I know several growers who are bringing people and labor in from Southern Mexico and that’s how they’re getting through the shortage.” Of the five different growers Church works with, the labor seems to be an issue with only one grower in particular. “The other four are fine so it doesn’t affect us too badly,” he says.
Supply looks good
Meanwhile there are plenty of supplies of green onions. “There are growers walking by acres right now—there are that many acres available. And there’s good volume crossing the border despite the labor shortage,” says Timsak. And demand is fair as well. “Iceless is in good demand because there are a lot of contracts for iceless. The iced market is, as always, usually less than iced.” For now, prices on iceless range from $9-$12 while iced is going from $5-$8. “That’s down,” says Timsak. “It was up for the holidays when it hit $25 or more.”
That said, Timsak expects a steady market to round out the season with both good supply and demand.
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